The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Engineering Student Chosen for South African REU

Undergraduate Brian Giang of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been chosen to participate in a very selective pilot program for summer research in South Africa. It is run by the National Science Foundation Northeast Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program and called the South Africa Research Experience for Undergraduates. The REU group of five students from UMass Amherst, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Connecticut will be traveling to the Potchefstroom campus of the North West University in South Africa on about June 4, 2011, and returning three weeks later.

The Program Director of the Northeast LSAMP is Dr. Susan B. Bronstein, the Director of the UMass Amherst Learning Resource Center. The REU experience at North West University is an opportunity to provide international undergraduate research experiences for talented students who are involved in LSAMP activities. Sophomore and Junior applicants have the chance to work closely with North West University faculty on exciting new research projects while broadening their cultural horizons through three weeks of residence in South Africa. The program includes intercultural workshops, activities, and excursions.

The NWU is a three-campus university with a footprint across two provinces. The Mafikeng and Potchefstroom Campuses are situated in the North-West Province, and the Vaal Triangle Campus is in Gauteng. The head office, known as the Institutional Office, is in Potchefstroom, situated near the Potchefstroom Campus.

This NSF LSAMP program is aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in, academically qualified for, and matriculated into programs of graduate study. LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive approaches that facilitate achievement of the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields.

The participants can do research in such areas as cognitive radio/software defined radio (spectrum sensing, channel modeling, etc.), audio fingerprinting/recognition techniques, or bioinformatics-DNA methylation techniques. (May 2011)