Summer Research at the Nation’s Capital
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) formed in 1901 and is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. NIST was established to identify standards and measurements in physical science for the overall security of the American economy and way of life. Electric power grids, electronic health records, computer chips, and dozens of other innovations rely on the measurements and standards provided by NIST.
Boise State engineering students have participated in an excellent summer undergraduate research fellowship (NIST SURF) for the past four years in a row. The 11-week internship program provides students with hands-on research experience. This year, Sierra Ludwig, Addie Lupercio, Justina Freilich, Brady Garringer, Riccardo Torsi, Alondra Perez, and Shamith Payagala underwent a highly competitive application process to be granted the fantastic opportunity to conduct summer research at the NIST Gaithersburg facility, just outside Washington, D.C. They are studying a wide range of topics including the arrangement of water molecules, molecular dynamics, fingerprint tests, electronic measurements, and fiber-optic cables. SURF participants work closely with resident scientists and fellows. These student-mentor relationships enable undergraduates to get the best quality hands on experience and guidance in preparation for an innovative and exciting career.
What have our Students been up to at NIST?
We heard from some of the bright minds representing Boise State at NIST this summer. Here is what they had to say about their SURF experience:
- “This summer was both challenging and incredibly fun. I gained new skills, made new friends, and had awesome experiences. I also got to work under amazing scientists and learn from them. I am so glad I got to be a part of this program and I would recommend it to anyone!”- Addie Lupercio.
- “The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has provided an opportunity for me to contribute to important areas of research with scientists who lead in their field. I have gained skills and experience in programming, characterization, data analysis, and technical writing and presenting. The SURF program has also fostered professional and personal relationships with students and scientists from disciplines across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It has been a joy to work at such an innovative and important institute this summer, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed making friends from across the country and exploring the east coast.” – Justina Freilich
- “This summer I worked with the Structures Group in the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. My project was an exploratory project to investigate using distributed fiber optic networks for long-term structural health monitoring. We used fiber optic cables with etched Fiber Bragg Gratings embedded into concrete to detect temperature, relative humidity, and strain. In addition to my project I’ve been able to do a lot 3D modeling work and even some 3D printing!”- Sierra Ludwig
Get Involved with NIST SURF
Since 2013, eighteen Boise State students have participated in the NIST SURF program. Fifteen are Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering undergrads. Learn more about NIST. Applications are typically due in January of each year. Contact Dr. Lan Li if you’re interested in applying for the next summer program!