Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can I apply late?

A: We are unable to accept any late applications. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact us.

Q: Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?
  • A: Check out this article on how to ask for a recommendation and who to ask. Always remember to ask early and give them as much information as you can to help them construct a useful letter!
Q: Do I need to be a materials science major to apply?
  • A: No, you do not! We are accepting applications from all majors in STEM. Historically, we have had folks from the physical sciences (chemistry, physics, materials science), engineering (chemical, electrical, and mechanical), and data and computer scientists.


Q: What is materials informatics?

A: Materials informatics is a sub-field of materials science that focuses on enhancing our ability to create or analyze data. This emerging field requires interdisciplinary knowledge spanning data science, math, computer science, and materials science; the ultimate goal is to accelerate our discovery of new materials with enhanced properties. Achieving this ‘enhanced ability to create or analyze data’ can range from robotics to simulations on supercomputers to machine learning approaches.

Q: What will I learn from this REU experience?

A: This REU will highlight topics in data science and materials science and give students an early experience with conducting authentic research. Depending on the specific project, the exact materials science topic you’ll learn about will vary significantly. Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to improve your communication and teamwork skills both through formal instruction and actually conducting science. For example, this REU emphasizes public speaking and all the things that follow from that (e.g., creating effective figures and slide decks).

Q: Why do REU's exist?

A: To quote the National Science Foundation, “Research experience is one of the most effective avenues for attracting students to and retaining them in science and engineering and for preparing them for careers in these fields. …   REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program. REU projects feature high-quality interaction of students with faculty and/or other research mentors and access to appropriate facilities and professional development opportunities.  … REU Sites are an important means for extending high-quality research environments and mentoring to diverse groups of students. In addition to increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in research, the program aims to involve students in research who might not otherwise have the opportunity, particularly those from academic institutions where research programs in STEM are limited.” 

Additionally, “REU projects offer an opportunity to tap the nation’s diverse student talent pool and broaden participation in science and engineering. NSF is particularly interested in increasing the numbers of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in research. ….  REU projects also are encouraged to consider students who are veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and first-generation college students.”


Q: How much is the stipend for the summer?

A: Participants will receive a stipend of $6,600 for the summer program.

Q: Is housing provided?

A: Yes. Participants will be provided room and board at Mines and receive a travel allowance.