How I Spent My Summer: NSF REUs Welcome Undergraduate Researchers

In 2022, all six schools in Georgia Tech's College of Sciences will offer a summer NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Students attending this year's REUs recount what they learned, and how it will impact their academic careers.

August 20, 2021

Please note that these interviews were conducted, and photos were taken, during the summer semester prior to Institute Operations Updates published August 2, 2021 in preparation for fall semester, which include: “To lower the risk for you and others, you are encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public places, including campus buildings, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”


Faith Colbert, a rising senior at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was born in Dallas, Texas. When her home state experienced a dangerous, deep cold spell in February of this year, the atmospheric sciences and meteorology major figured the best way she could help her family would be to study that catastrophic weather event. 

A National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF REU) program at Georgia Tech that she had enrolled in for summer 2021 gave her that chance. More students will soon have a similar opportunity; starting in summer 2022, for the first time, all six College of Sciences schools will offer an REU. 

“My motivation was mainly driven by emotional pulls,” Colbert says. “My family being directly affected by the storm pushed me to find research-based answers for both them and me.”

The REU that enabled her to conduct that research was the Aquatic Chemical Ecology at Georgia Tech summer research program, an interdisciplinary REU with the Schools of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry. EAS also has its own REU: Georgia Tech Broadening Participation in Atmospheric Science, Oceanography, and Geosciences research program

Sara Cuevas-Quiñones, a second year student at Purdue University, attended both of those REUs this summer. She’s a physics major but had a chance to explore planetary sciences with her research project on potential volcanic activity near Mars’ Jezero