Thanks to a generous grant from PSEG, 16 Stony Brook students this summer are participating in the university’s Explorations in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Research Program.
The summer program provides freshmen and sophomores with high potential but low exposure to research with a 10-week paid summer research opportunity. Each of the undergraduate students in the program – now in its third year – are paired with faculty across campus, conducting research in the STEM disciplines with an emphasis on engineering.
“We are delighted to contribute to a program that is developing tomorrow’s engineers,” PSEG Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo said during a recent site visit to Stony Brook with other top PSEG officials. “We’re supporting this program because Stony Brook is a great institution and we hope that you’ll seriously consider careers in energy in the future. Thank you to the students for your interest in STEM.”
PSEG’s funding of Explorations in STEM helps support a key component of Stony Brook’s mission – to contribute to a vibrant educated STEM workforce, Stony Brook President Samuel L. Stanley Jr, M.D. said.
“Our Explorations in STEM Research Program is training and educating young people for the highly technical well compensated positions of the future, particularly on Long Island,” Dr. Stanley said.
Luis Ramirez, a sophomore working with Dr. Ya Wang in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, was among several students who visited with the PSEG contingent. His research this summer involves working with piezoelectric vibration energy harvesters and using mechanical energy to produce electrical energy.
“It’s been just a blessing to have PSEG fund this program,” said Luis, 20, who together with the rest of participants began his internship June 1. “I’ve been given a tremendous opportunity to be mentored and to carry out important scientific research. Coming from a poor neighborhood and a family with financial needs, it’s an opportunity that otherwise would not have been afforded to me.”
For Nelsy Badia, a double major in civil engineering and music who just completed her sophomore year, Explorations in STEM lets her pursue her passion: research. Thanks to the program, she is a member of the Sustainability and Health and Urban Infrastructure Laboratory at Stony Brook, which is researching how rust changes the behavior of joints in bridge structures.
“Research is very important to me. And because this program is fully funded by PSEG, including room and board, I am able to focus on my research,” said Badia, 19, of Valley Stream, L.I.
As an Explorations in STEM intern with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Brookhaven National Laboratory, Yuriy Slaschev, a sophomore from Corona, Queens, is examining ways to use of graphene to advance solar energy technology.
“Going from being a student to being a researcher has certainly been a unique challenge,” said Yuriy, whose family moved to New York from Uzbekistan when he was 5. “The funding from PSEG has been instrumental – essential – into overcoming this transition.”
Programs like Explorations in STEM help solidify Stony Brook’s reputation for being one of the nation’s premier research institutions, said Dr. David Ferguson, associate provost of diversity and inclusion at Stony Brook.
“Stony Brook takes great pride in engaging a large number of undergraduates in research,” he said. “When students have the opportunity to participate in research, it is a real eye opener for them. PSEG’s effort to help us to grow the number of students who have this opportunity is very much appreciated.”