Research Experiences for Undergraduates

For students who want to see their contributions make an impact, be part of a program structured to apply science and technology to benefit the community.


  • 8 Week Summer Program

  • $4,800 Stipend

  • $400 Travel Allowance

  • Includes Accommodation and Dining


  • Students in STEM-related fields

  • Enrolled or accepted in 2 yr, 4 yr, Community, or Tribal colleges

  • US Citizens, U.S Nationals or Permanent Residents

Important dates


Application deadline for Summer 2022 : March 15, 2022

Tentative program dates : June 3, 2022- July 29, 2022

Bio-inspired, Community-centric Research Experience

TECH SCEnE – Technology, Science, and Community Engagement in Engineering is a unique undergraduate research program. The features of the program are

  • The program combines engineering research with direct community involvement and impact.

  • Each project will team the students with mentors at Michigan Tech and the Natural Resources Department at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

  • Projects include water quality testing for heavy metal contamination, smart adhesives for underwater applications, remote monitoring and mobile robots, simulating daylight for hatcheries, and in vitro modeling of the impact of heavy metals.

  • Hands-on laboratory experience and field visits to the beautiful lakeshores of the Keweenaw Bay and Lake Superior.

  • This is a National Science Foundation-funded program.

The projects directly impact the community and apply engineering solutions to address specific needs.

You may even catch sight of the Northern lights!

Program Information

TECH SCEnE – Technology, Science, and Community Engagement in Engineering is aimed at collaborative undergraduate research between Michigan Technological University (MTU) and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa Indians. The program brings together faculty from the Departments of Biological Sciences (BioSc), Biomedical Engineering (BME) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at MTU and the Natural Resources Department (NRD) at KBIC.

The projects defined directly impact the community, providing relatable research and cultural experiences. This unique undergraduate summer research experience will focus on place-based research experiences with continuous engagement with local communities and promoting cultural education among the future scientists and engineers. MTU is uniquely positioned in the landscape to provide an integrated university-community program, serving as a center for Science and Engineering in the Northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Every project integrates engineering and community interest components. Each research team will work with mentors from MTU and KBIC, on-site along the beautiful shores of the Keweenaw Bay.

Our Vision

Building on long-term university-community partnerships, TECH SCEnE will provide engineering and STEM field research experiences for undergraduates that is inclusive of, and responsive to, diverse cultural perspectives and local community priorities. Through a shared teaching and learning approach, the multi-disciplinary team, participants, and Tribal Nation community partners will discover from each other’s knowledge, skill sets, and cultural practices. Emphasis will be on broadening participation of Underrepresented minorities and Tribal Nations. We expect to contribute to scholarship in the advancement of a diverse workforce in STEM fields, and best practices associated with university-community research such as equitable approaches in STEM research, shared teaching and learning among diverse participants, and multi-directional, -cultural evaluation.

Our Goals

The project aligns with NSF commitment to capacity-building by broadening participation through preparing a diverse, globally engaged STEM workforce and expanding efforts to broaden participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions across geographical regions in all NSF activities. Our goals are 1) engineering approaches to monitoring and managing community resources and landscapes, and 2) key approaches and challenges of preparing a culturally aware workforce of tomorrow. Improvement in URM enrollment, retention, and graduation is anticipated. The education components foster knowledge exchange between MTU, KBIC and career opportunities in engineering and STEM for underrepresented minority students.

Program Features

Unique about this program:

  • Learning about the culture and engaging with "nature" and tribal community; participate and engage in community exchange

  • Leadership and career workshop

  • Using online research tools

  • Participate in service-learning field trips with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).

  • 8-weeks research experience in bio-inspired related projects

  • Stipend of $4800

  • Travel allowance, accommodation and dining

  • Projects teams will work in laboratories and on-site at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

  • Projects feature topics from the following departments

    • Biological Sciences

    • Biomedical Engineering

    • Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Applied Computing

    • Natural Resources Department at Keweenaw Bay Indian Community

  • Learn more about graduate research and career opportunities

  • Access campus facilities, participate in cultural events at KBIC and explore the great outdoors

Who can apply?

Undergraduate students who are

  • Enrolled in STEM-related fields

  • Junior or Senior year students from 4-year colleges

  • Community college and Tribal college students

  • GPA of 2.75 and above

  • U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals or Permanent Residents

We highly encourage women and underrepresented minorities, American Indian/Alaskan Native, African American/Non-Hispanic, and Hispanic/Hispanic American racial/ethnic groups to consider applying to the program

Application materials

  • Online application form

  • At most two letters of reference

  • Transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable at the time of application)

The NSF REU site TECH SCEnE offers a unique opportunity to become part of a diverse scientific workforce of the future engaged in STEM-related fields and is also culturally aware.

We first acknowledge that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands and waters of many Indigenous nations, including the Anishinaabe — the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. We also acknowledge our more-than-human relatives, including those with roots, wings, fins, and feet, who have called this region home since time immemorial. Finally, we acknowledge that Michigan Technological University is located within the Ojibwa (Chippewa) ceded-territory established by the Treaty of 1842, and we share lands, waters and responsibilities with several Lake Superior Bands of Chippewa Indians, including the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Have questions? Email: or Call: (906)-487-3116