team is formed depending on the
project topic. UGRs are given a desk
proximal to the graduate student on
their team. The graduate student
meets with the UGR at different times
of the day, as the UGR makes progress
or has questions to discuss. Informal
short meetings with the faculty mentor occur every one to three days. All
these activities lead up to the weekly
presentation by the UGR. Additionally, the UGR has opportunities to meet
the faculty mentors and graduate students at social events, and the weekly
research meeting for the larger graduate student group.
Our progress during the summer is
evaluated by a professional assessment
team, which provides us mid-summer
feedback allowing us to adjust and
adapt our strategies.
Changes Over the Years
in Structure and Logistics
Our site has seen changes in many
ways over the years. Initially, it offered a year-long REU; the summer
was full-time research, while the Fall
and Spring components involved
part-time research due to full class
load. The site was shared with another in-state institution, and half
the UGRs were local to one institution while the other half were local
to the other, so during the summer
the UGRs commuted from home to
their institution, and during the Fall
and Spring semesters, they were able
to take continued computer vision
academic courses on site. The year-long duration allowed the training
in background computer vision techniques to spill over many weeks and
allowed some room for easy accommodation of project topic changes.
The first change came with the program becoming a single site. Additional professors from our institution
were added to the team as mentors.
The next change was when the site
took participants from other states.
This necessitated the move to on-campus housing, the transition to focus on
the summer months, the need for logistics for managing the processing of
the selected out-of-state students, and
widespread advertising, recruitment,
and interviewing procedures.
The focus on the summer months
has led to annual review of the short
comfortable speaking about topics
they know about, even when they some-
times are unsure. They should get prac-
tice in making verbal mistakes, and be-
ing corrected, and learning to prepare
themselves for presentations, antici-
pating audience questions, and being
even more additionally prepared.
I.Building presentation confidence—visual. This is a difficult skill
to learn. It is built with lots of practice,
and watching the presentations of others, who are peers or more advanced
J. Building commitment to complete a task. UGRs learn about making
commitments for short terms, they
learn about daily commitments, weekly commitments, commitments for the
12 weeks, and they understand how
to break daunting tasks into smaller
chunks of smaller commitments.
K. Exposing UGRs to career possibilities in graduate school and industry. UGRs should feel they have good examples of how the career possibilities
in graduate school and industry are
realizable, and made real. They should
have exposure to knowing where they
can seek additional help for acquiring
knowledge about these pathways.
The activities. At the end of each activity, we list the letters associated with
the experiences that were previously
described in this Viewpoint.
˲ Immerse the UGR in a research
group made up by professor and at
least one Ph.D. student (B, C, E, F, G, J).
˲ Initial two-week training in vision
techniques and machine learning, a
combination of lectures, tutorials, and
homework (E, F).
˲ Each year the cohort is presented
with more project choices than there
are students, the UGRs select their
top few choices, and then we begin
the task of iteration until there is
a stable student to project pairing;
during this period there is a lot of
contact between each UGR and the
possible project groups; stable pairings are achieved by the end of week
three (B, C, E, F, G, J).
˲ UGR must do a weekly presentation to a small group consisting of the
mentor professor and graduate student
and fellow undergraduates mentored
by the same professor; the presentation is oral and visual (approximately
15 minutes) (H, I).
˲ Social: Six lunches at Thai/Indian/
Buffet restaurants, picnic, graduating
Ph.D. dinner, Distinguished Visitor
Lunch/dinner, banquet dinner, certificate dinner (B, C, D, G).
˲Field trips to three companies;
during each field trip the company
(involved in computer vision work) describes their products and their efforts
and each UGR individually presents
his/her project work for about 10 minutes (H, I, K).
˲Graduate school workshop. Sessions are titled “Why Grad School?,”
“Why I am Going?,” “How I won an
NSF Graduate Fellowship?,” “
Maximizing your chance of grad school acceptance,” “Doctoral Fellowships,”
presented by the Graduate Deans and
award winning students (K)
˲ Distinguished Visitor Colloquium,
and Journey Talk, and group meeting
where UGRs describe their summer
projects (E, H, I, K).
˲ Ph.D. student Thesis Proposal, and
Final Defense (C, E, H, I, K).
˲Attend all-graduate students’
meeting where graduate students present their work (C, E, H, I).
˲ Meet with the co-director each day
during the summer for quick report of
how overall life is progressing; this acts
as release of pressure (from hardware
complaints to group dynamic issues, to
scheduling adjustments for weekend
trips) (A, G, J).
˲Fall/Spring follow up work with
each UGR to assist them to get industry internships, additional REU summers (at other institutions), or apply to
permanent industry positions and/or
graduate school (K).
At the core of all these activities lies
the UGR’s immersion in the graduate environment. The UGR’s research
The field of computer
vision is rapidly
evolving and the REU
site has kept pace
with the changes.