Research Experience for Undergraduates program participants bring diverse interests in sustainable energy, polymers and physics
2019 MRL Summer Scholars are (top row, l-r) Isabel Albelo, Leah Borgsmiller, Jared  Bowden, Clement Ekaputra, and Ewell Nathan, and (bottom row, l-r) Marcos Logrono, Chris  Moore, Ariane Marchese, Melvin Nunez Santiago and Carly Tymm.
 2019 MRL Summer Scholars are (top row, l-r) Isabel Albelo, Leah Borgsmiller, Jared Bowden, Clement Ekaputra, and Nathan Ewell, and (bottom row, l-r) Marcos Logrono, Chris Moore, Ariane Marchese, Melvin Nunez Santiago and Carly Tymm.

A diverse group, with a broad range of personal and scientific interests and experiences, this year’s 10 MIT Materials Research Laboratory Summer Scholars include a former Navy Seal, an accomplished classical pianist and a voice actor. Each was selected for a strong undergraduate record in science and technology.

The Summer Scholars, as MRL calls its National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduates interns, will be on the MIT campus from June 16 to Aug. 10, 2019. They were chosen from among 286 applicants.

“I was a Navy SEAL for nine years in which time I was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as serving as a mountaineering instructor in Kodiak, Alaska,” says University of Washington junior Chris Moore. While in Alaska, Moore and two fellow SEAL instructors planned and executed an expedition to the summit of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).

Clement N. Ekaputra, a Case Western Reserve University junior, plays classical piano and recently performed a concerto as a soloist with the University of Pittsburgh symphony orchestra.

When she isn’t pursuing her scientific education, Hunter College physics major Ariane Marchese is a voice actress and volunteers to give voice to audiobooks for schools.

Eager learners

While seeking a sharper focus for graduate school research is a common theme for Summer Scholars, this year’s participants are eager learners willing to stretch into new topics and experimental techniques. “I’m really excited to learn from MIT Materials Research Lab faculty and the other talented and diverse interns I’ll be working with,” Marchese says.

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez mechanical engineering major Marcos A. Logrono Lopez hopes to pursue research at MIT in the area of microfluidics. “My goal is to understand the behaviors that dominate fluids at the micro scale and implement them into new innovative technologies such as micro-propulsion and micro-electromechanical systems,” he says.

“I’m certain that no matter the project I’m assigned to in this internship, I will work passionately and be motivated with the goal of pushing forward the research that takes place at MIT,” Logrono says. “Positivism, humbleness, hard work, respectfulness and passion for helping others are the fundamental bases of who I am as a person,” he adds.

University of California - Los Angeles junior materials science and engineering major Isabel Albelo hopes the REU experience “will provide me with further clarity as to what I would like to study in graduate school and the field in which I would like to work.” She is currently interested in sustainability, either in the areas of agriculture and food science or renewable energy generation and storage. During the first half of 2018, Albelo studied abroad in Chile despite the difficulty of fitting that experience into an engineering curriculum.

Case Western Reserve University junior Nathan Ewell is most interested in electrochemical engineering and polymer physics. “I am excited to get a feel for what my life will be like as a graduate student in a few years,” he says.

Also interested in polymers and nanomaterials, University of Massachusetts Amherst chemical engineering major Jared Bowden hopes to work with bio-inspired materials. “I am very interested in emulating extremely specialized natural polymers perfected by millions of years of natural selection and applying the benefits of their properties to modern problems,” Bowden says. Additionally, says Bowden, “I hope to learn new things that I can bring back with me to UMass that will help me in my nanofiber research for my senior thesis.”

Moore, a physics and astronomy major, hopes to conduct optical experimental research in condensed matter, specifically topological defects. “I find the field fascinating both conceptually and experimentally,” Moore says. “Much of what appeals to me about the research at MIT is how often it creates and broadens new fields of research. This is reflective of the clear experimental direction that I hope to pick up during this experience.”

Melvin Núñez Santiago is majoring in electrical technology with renewable energy at the University Ana G. Mendez at Gurabo in Puerto Rico. Núñez hopes to channel his passion for research and technology development into a summer project related to electronics, power, communications or energy storage. Marchese, a junior at Hunter College, also expresses interest in energy production and storage but is interested in all aspects of materials science.

Improving their research and analytical skills is a common goal of this year’s cohort. “By working full-time on a research project with them, I know I will learn a lot about conducting research – about discovering interesting questions and designing methods to solve them,” says Ekaputra, a Case Western Reserve materials science and engineering major.

Dartmouth College junior Carly Tymm says, “I would like to take on a multidisciplinary project at MIT with perspectives from synthetic chemistry, surface science and bioengineering in the design, synthesis and analysis of biomaterials. There are many macromolecular solutions to challenges in medicinal materials science that I would like to investigate deeper.” Tymm is a double major in chemistry and biomedical engineering sciences.

Regional explorations

Northwestern University junior materials science and engineering major Leah Borgsmiller will be experiencing Massachusetts for the first time, “so I am excited to spend evenings and weekends exploring the Cambridge/Boston area,” she says. She hopes the intensive eight-week program will help her form long-lasting connections to her peers as well as MIT faculty.

“In this modern world, we are increasingly more dependent on electronics and energy consumption to power our lives, and so being able to contribute to research to make these processes more efficient and environmentally-friendly would be a rewarding experience,” Borgsmiller says.

back to newsletter Denis Paiste, Materials Research Laboratory
April 26, 2019

Friday, 22 March 2019 17:22

10 interns chosen for 2019

MIT Materials Research Laboratory announces 10 recipients of Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) internships.
Summer Scholar Fernando Nieves Bench Work 3379 DPaiste

2018 Summer Scholar Fernando Nieves Muñoz works at a bench in the lab of Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Krystyn Van Vliet. Photo, Denis Paiste, Materials Research Laboratory.

The MIT Materials Research Laboratory [MRL] has selected 10 top-ranking undergraduates to conduct graduate-level research on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Mass., from June 16 to Aug. 10, 2019. They were chosen from among 286 applicants.

Interns will select their own projects from MIT faculty presentations given during the first few days of the program. Last year’s group, for example, explored a wide range of research from working with materials as soft as silk to as hard as iron and from temperatures as low as -452.47 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 1,984 F.

This year’s Summer Scholars and their home institutions are:

- Isabel Albelo, University of California - Los Angeles

- Leah Borgsmiller, Northwestern University

- Jared Bowden, University of Massachusetts Amherst

- Clement Ekaputra, University of Pittsburgh

- Nathan Ewell, Case Western Reserve University

- Marcos Logrono, University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Campus

- Chris Moore, University of Washington

- Ariane Marchese, Hunter College of the City University of New York

- Melvin Nunez Santiago, University Ana G. Mendez at Gurabo, Puerto Rico

- Carly Tymm, Dartmouth College 

Summer Scholars are supported in part by the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, which is administered by the MIT Materials Research Science and Engineering Center.

The program, started in 1983, has brought hundreds of the best science and engineering undergraduates in the country to MIT for graduate-level materials research.

back to newsletterMarch 25, 2019 

Thursday, 07 March 2019 14:10

Summer Scholar Update: Erica E. Eggleton

Erica Eggleton Sample 6515 DP March 2019

2016 MIT Summer Scholar Erica Eggleton worked in the lab of MIT Professor Krystyn Van Vliet on lithium manganese oxide (LMO) electrodes for lithium ion batteries. Here, she measures out carbon powder, a binder, and LMO, the active powder used in the battery electrodes. Photo, Denis Paiste, MIT Materials Research Laboratory.

What graduate program are you currently pursuing?

I am a second-year PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Washington.

Have you had any articles published related to your MIT Summer Scholar experience?

I was one of the co-authors of a February 2017 report in Advanced Energy Materials by first author Frank Grogan and senior author Krystyn Van Vliet, the Michael (1949) and Sonja Koerner Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Associate Provost at MIT. This paper reported on the mechanical properties of a sulfide-based solid electrolyte material and its performance when incorporated into lithium-ion batteries. I contributed to this work as a Summer Scholar through MIT Materials Research Laboratory’s National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program.

University of Washington chemical engineering graduate student Erica Eggleton interned as an MIT Summer Scholar during 2016.

What awards have you received?

I was one of the graduate students selected as a 2019 Clean Energy Institute Fellow and a National Science Foundation Research Trainee (NRT) in data science at the University of Washington. These awards enable my current research on developing a battery and vehicle model to predict the state of health of lithium-ion battery packs in King County Metro’s hybrid electric bus fleet using geographic information system (GIS) data.

What about your MIT Summer Scholar experience was most enjoyable?

One of the most memorable and inspiring moments from my experience was touring various labs around MIT's campus and learning about the vast amount of research being done.

How did your MIT Summer Scholars experience contribute to getting you where you are today?

The MIT Summer Scholars program reassured me that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had the opportunity to form connections with people at MIT and with the other scholars from across the country. I also got valuable hands-on experience with various experimental techniques and contributed to a publication.

What are your future plans or ambitions?

My future ambitions are driven by my passion for advancing clean energy technologies. I currently imagine doing this through teaching and advocating for science policy.

back to newsletterWatch videos of 2018 MIT MRL Summer Scholars.

Wednesday, 06 February 2019 10:35

Summer Scholar Update: Katharine Greco

Summer Scholar Katharine Greco Spain January 2019 Web
MIT Chemical Engineering graduate student Katharine Greco spent the 2019 Independent Activities Period (IAP) conducting research in the Molecular Nanotechnology Lab at the University of Alicante in Spain. Her work is part of a collaboration to develop next generation electrodes for redox flow batteries.

What graduate program are you currently pursuing?
I am pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT, and have already earned my Master's degree in Chemical Engineering Practice (MSCEP). I am currently studying transport in flow battery electrodes in the Brushett group.

What awards have you received?
I was a Presidential Scholar coming in to MIT. I also have a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

What about your MIT Summer Scholar experience was most enjoyable?
I really enjoyed working closely with graduate students in ARCO Career Development Professor William A. Tisdale’s lab and becoming part of the group for the summer. I also relished the chance to conduct independent research. This experience greatly contributed to my decision to pursue a graduate degree. 

Katharine Greco Hood 3369 July 2015 DP Web

Katharine Greco works with a three–necked flask for synthesizing core/shell quantum dots in the Tisdale Lab during her 2015 Summer Scholar internship. Greco synthesized up to 16 samples of quantum dots each week. Photo, Denis Paiste, Materials Research Laboratory.

How did your MIT Summer Scholars experience contribute to getting you where you are today?

The Summer Scholars program allowed me to expand my network at MIT, which I believe was a huge factor in my acceptance here. Additionally, my positive experience during the program encouraged me to come back for graduate school.

What are your future plans or ambitions?
I would like to work on the edge of research and industry by helping to deploy clean energy technologies.

back to newsletterWatch videos of 2018 MIT MRL Summer Scholars.

Friday, 25 January 2019 14:11

Summer Scholar Update: Sarah Arveson

Sarah Arveson 0199 Scope Yale 2019 Web
2014 Summer Scholar Sarah M. Arveson peers into a microscope at Yale University, where she is a graduate student in geology and geophysics. Arveson spent her NSF REU at MIT in the lab of ARCO Career Development Professor William A. Tisdale working on methyl ammonium lead bromide thin films. Courtesy photo.

What graduate program are you currently pursuing?

Since my MIT REU experience, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2015 with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and Geophysics with High Honors. I am currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Yale University. I conduct high-pressure and high-temperature experiments to understand the interior of Earth and other planets.


Feb. 15, 2019 

This year's Summer Scholar Internship Program runs June 16 to Aug. 10, 2019.

  Learn more 


Have you had any articles published related to your MIT Summer Scholar experience?
I am a second author on the following paper, which features experimental results from my MIT REU: Tyagi, P., Arveson, S. M., & Tisdale, W. A. (2015). Colloidal organohalide perovskite nanoplatelets exhibiting quantum confinement,The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 6(10), 1911-1916.

What awards have you received?

I have received the following awards:

• Charles H. Ramsden Scholarship (Department of Earth and Planetary Science, UC Berkeley - 2015)

• Graduate Student Research Grant (Geological Society of America - 2017)

• Graduate Fellowship Research Grant (NASA CT Space Grant Consortium - 2017)

• Hammer Prize (Department of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University - 2018)

• Graduate Fellowship Research Grant (NASA CT Space Grant Consortium - 2018)

• Dean’s Emerging Scholar Research Award (Yale University - 2018)

• Outstanding Student Presentation Award – Mineral and Rock Physics (American Geophysical Union – 2018)

Sarah Arveson Yale 2019 SQ Web

What about your MIT Summer Scholar experience was most enjoyable?
I enjoyed getting to explore an area of research that was new to me, meeting people from different programs from all over the country, and exploring a new city.

How did your MIT Summer Scholars experience contribute to getting you where you are today?
I enjoyed my research experience with MIT MPC/CMSE so much that when applying for graduate school, I was torn between remaining in Earth Science or starting a Materials Science PhD. I ultimately chose an Earth Science program, but my thesis is heavily materials science influenced. The knowledge I gained over the summer studying organometallic halide perovskites for solar cell applications gives me a broader perspective on my own research today. For instance, the first publication from my PhD is on defect-induced semiconducting states in potassium bromide (KBr) at high-pressure (Arveson, S. M., Kiefer, B., Deng, J., Liu, Z., & Lee, K. K. (2018), Thermally induced coloration of KBr at high pressures, Physical Review B, 97(9), 094103). This phenomenon has been robustly observed in the high-pressure experimental community but had not been previously characterized. My experience from the MIT MPC/CMSE program gave me the tools to do so. (Editor’s note: MPC and CMSE became the Materials Research Laboratory in October 2017.)

What are your future plans or ambitions?
After my PhD, I would like to continue working in high-pressure experimental research in the public sector, either in an academic setting or at a national lab. My interests also include science communication, science policy, and labor organizing.

back to newsletterWatch a video of Sarah Arveson’s MIT 2014 summer internship.

Watch videos of 2018 MIT MRL Summer Scholars.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019 15:50

Summer Scholar Update: Bart Machielse

Bart Machielse CloseUp 0192 Web
Summer Scholar Bart Machielse examines a tellurium thin film coated onto a silicon oxide on silicon base in a glovebox during his 2015 NSF REU in the lab of MIT Assistant Professor Juejun (JJ) Hu, working on an infrared photonics project. Photo, Denis Paiste, MIT Materials Research Laboratory.

What graduate program are you currently pursuing?

I'm pursuing a PhD in physics at Harvard in the Lukin and Loncar groups. I do research on nanophotonics and quantum emitters in diamond with applications in quantum networks.


Feb. 15, 2019 

This year's Summer Scholar Internship Program runs June 16 to Aug. 10, 2019.

  Learn more 


What awards have you received?

I received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2016, which is funding the first three years of my research.

What about your MIT Summer Scholar experience was most enjoyable?

MIT Summer school offered the best summer-long research experience I could have imagined. In three months, I got to work on three very different projects that taught me skills and knowledge that I continue to use today. Professor Juejun (JJ) Hu's group worked really hard to integrate me into its work, making me a part of the team despite the short time I was there.

How did your MIT Summer Scholars experience contribute to getting you where you are today?

Conducting research outside my home institution as an undergraduate taught me a lot about how different institutions are organized and helped me figure out what I wanted out of a community and research team.

Bart Machielse January 2019 SQ Web

The specific skills and knowledge I learned I still use almost every day, especially with regards to nanophotonics and nanofabrication.

What are your future plans or ambitions?

Continue to do research on quantum networks in an academic or industrial setting.

back to newsletter

Watch a video of Bart Machielse’s 2015 summer internship.

Watch videos of 2018 MIT MRL Summer Scholars.

Monday, 17 December 2018 16:19

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions


 currently attend MIT. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately not. The Summer Internship Program is funded by NSF and supports non-MIT undergraduates who will be visiting MIT for the summer. 

MIT students are however, eligible for NSF REU programs at other institutions. 

MIT students interested in an exciting, challenging research opportunity on campus during the summer should consider MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Approximately 80% of undergraduates participate at least once during their time at MIT.

Do I have to be a US Citizen to be eligible for the program?
Yes, this is an NSF REU supported program and you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.

What are the dates of the next session?
From June 7 - August 8, 2020

How much does it pay?
There's a $8000 stipend, plus travel expenses (up to $1000). 

Will you pay for my travel?
Yes, round-trip, coach class travel expenses are paid for by the program, whether you come by plane, train or automobile. More details will be provided with the acceptance packet. The round-trip travel is from where you are (home, university) when you want to head to MIT, and then from MIT back to your home or university. If you are driving, MIT will pay for the mileage equivalent up to no more than the cost of a coach class airline ticket.

When do I find out what project I'll be working on or what projects are available?
We want students to come into the program with an open mind to the possibility of trying new things, so we don't reveal what projects are going to be available until the first week of the program. During that first week, you will hear from several faculty members about their projects and what it's like to work in their lab. You'll visit the labs you're interested in, based on those initial talks, and will talk further to the faculty about details of what they can offer you. Only then, at the end of the first week, will you be asked to decide which project you'd like to work on. 

Where will I be living during the program?
You can live in on-campus housing or off-campus. Living on-campus is recommended and accommodations will be available.

Off-campus accommodations are available, but it's your responsibility to make the arrangements. Housing around the Boston/Cambridge area, particularly if you want to be within a half-hour commute of MIT, is scarce. Rents are high and availability is low. Prices vary widely depending on the number of roommates you have, location and apartment quality. Most places are unfurnished.

What will I eat?
You will be responsible for purchasing your own food for the duration of the program. "Eat out" options in Boston and Cambridge are plentiful, and there are two grocery stores within a long walk or a short bus ride from campus. Students in past years have banded together for communal cooking/meals. MIT dining facilities are limited to the Student Center on weekends. 

Do I need health insurance?
Yes, interns are responsible for their own health insurance coverage during their stay at MIT. Please ask your insurance provider how this coverage works. 

What will I be doing during the program?
You will be having fun and learning. Both can occur inside the lab or outside. 

Outside: Boston and Cambridge are exciting and interesting places to explore, and if you have access to a car (either your own or a rental), it's easy to get to Providence, New Hampshire, Gloucester, Cape Cod, and Martha's Vineyard. There are free concerts on the Esplanade, right across from the MIT campus, on summer evenings, with the Boston Pops performing on July 4, a show culminating in a fireworks display. The Freedom Trail is a reasonable place to start, but there's plenty to do even if you're not an American Revolution history maven. 

Inside: You'll start the program with a whirlwind, two-to-three-day overview of the various projects available in the program. During the tour, you'll meet all the professors who are offering positions in their labs, see their labs and equipment/instrumentation, and hear about the projects you can work on. During the remainder of that first week, you'll go back and meet with the faculty whose projects sounded interesting to you, and choose who you'll work with for the remaining weeks of the program. The idea is that you should be exposed to the broad range of research taking place in Materials Science at MIT. To help you keep an open mind, we don't make detailed descriptions of project offerings available until the lab tours are over. 

OK, I'm interested. Now what?
First, you'll need to be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, and entering your junior or senior year in Sept. 2020. Then, fill out our on-line application. Submit your transcripts and letters of recommendation by the due date to be considered. You will be notified soon after March 16, 2020 if you've been accepted into the program. 

What kind of transcripts do you accept?
Official transcripts are required! We will not accept copies of transcripts or transcripts printed from your student account. Transcripts will be considered official if they have been given to you directly from your school and if they have the schools seal on them, are on the schools letterhead or say "transcript released to student". If the word "Unofficial" appears anywhere on the transcript, then it is not Official. You can upload a scanned copy of your transcript. If we require the original transcripts, we will ask for them at a later date. Make sure your entire application, including all transcripts and recommendation letters, is complete by the February 14, 2020 deadline. 

When will I be notified if I've been accepted into the program?
Applicants selected to participate in the Summer Internship Program will be notified by phone or email within a few days of March 16, 2020. All others will be notified by e-mail. 

How will I know if you've received all my information?
Once your application is complete, you will receive an email confirming that we've received all of your transcripts and letters of recommendation. However, you can login to the application system to check your application status at any point in time.

For questions not answered by this FAQ, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MIT is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Thursday, 27 September 2018 10:53

2018 Summer Scholars videos

Summer Scholars Video Promo Combo Web

Watch MIT MRL Summer Scholars videos.


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MIT Materials Research Laboratory
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Cambridge, MA 02139