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Undergraduate Research


Engineering & Computing Research Award

The McNAIR Junior Fellows (MJF) program is designed to enhance the career growth and development of undergraduate students through hands-on experiential learning, innovation, and research. The skills and knowledge that you gain by working closely with a faculty mentor is the type of experience that is highly desirable for employers and increases competitiveness for your future career.

The McNAIR Junior Fellows Program

  • Up to $3000 per recipient towards summer salary (awards may vary $2000-$3000; dependent on the application, student qualifications/experience, hours anticipated, etc.)
  • For College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) students in research with a CEC faculty mentor
  • Any academic year (up to non-graduating seniors)
  • Must have previous research experience

 

Congratulations to our new Summer 2019

McNAIR Junior Fellows!


See listing below under Awardees  

 

Program Details

To instill the concepts of in-depth pursuit of knowledge and kindle curiosity in the engineers of tomorrow.

To create a unique environment where undergraduate students can learn and excel by engaging in cutting edge research.

We firmly believe in the untapped potential of undergraduate students in performing and delivering research. This belief enables us to create opportunities integrating undergraduate students in the daily research activities performed in the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina.

Research, or in-depth investigations concentrating on a specific topic, requires focus, persistence, and discipline.  As mentors:

  • we seek to prepare future minds by challenging them to become lifelong learners,
  • we believe it is our duty to provide the guidance and skills for students to travel their own discovery path, and  
  • we aim to transform students from ‘material receivers’ to ‘material seekers.’

The McNAIR Junior Fellows program was created in Spring 2015 to provide an opportunity for students at the University of South Carolina to gain hands-on experience in the field of aerospace and manufacturing research through the McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research. As of Spring 2018, the program has had over 100 participants and 30 graduates. In recognition of its student impact, the program was awarded a grant from the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) in Summer 2017 to provide salary support for its student researchers.

 In Summer 2018, through the support of Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri, the McNAIR Junior Fellows program expanded beyond the McNAIR Center, supporting students throughout the CEC as an official undergraduate research program of the college. The program is nearing its 4th year and is continuously looking to unlock the full potential of CEC graduates. The current program committee consists of Dr. Ramy Harik (founder of the McNAIR Junior Fellows Program and Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Charlie Pierce (Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering), and Ms. Julie Morris (director of the USC Office of Undergraduate Research).

 
Eligibility
  • College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) students
  • Any academic year including non-graduating seniors (this award cannot be used after graduation)
  • Previous research experience (minimum 100 hours)
  • Must be proposing work with a CEC faculty researcher
  • Must be in good standing with the University (no academic or judicial probation)
Application Process

This program provides summer salary for research with a CEC faculty researcher. Previous experience is required of ~100 hours.

  • Finalize a project with a CEC faculty research mentor
  • Request your mentor submit the project description and recommendation through the Mentor Application form as described below
  • Prepare/develop responses for the on-line application as follows (TWO questions; max 500 words each). Review carefully for spelling and grammar.
    • brief description of your previous research experience, including:
      • what you have learned both specifically and more generally/personally, and
      • the impact this has had on you.
    • personal statement, to include:
      • a brief introduction about you, your academic and career goals;
      • why you would like to be a part of the McNAIR Junior Fellows program and this specific research project; 
      • and if not addressed above, how involvement in research fits within your goals and/or why you are interested in conducting research.
  • Review the budget process and award requirements below to ensure you will be compliant, if awarded
  • Complete McNAIR Junior Fellows application form 
  • Applicants may be contacted for an application interview
Mentor Eligibility
  • College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) tenure or non-tenure track faculty
  • Postdoctoral fellows and graduate students may not be primary mentors but are encouraged to participate in supervising awardees
  • No more than two students per mentor may be funded by this program
Application Process
  • Students must complete the McNAIR Junior Fellows application form 
  • The faculty mentor must submit the Mentor Application Form which includes the following questions: 
    • Brief description/overview of student's project
    • Brief description of project tasks, timeline, and hours anticipated
    • Recommendation or comments in support of the student's application (max 500 words); items to consider include coursework, current or past research experience, strengths, weaknesses, intellectual ability, writing ability, analytical skills, initiative and maturity, and level of independence (novice through advanced)

DEADLINE for BOTH student and mentor applications:  Check back in January for Summer 2020 deadlines.

Please be sure to coordinate so that both mentor and student applications are submitted together for consideration.

TBA: Award announcements to students and mentors via email

College of Engineering & Computing (CEC) tenure or non-tenure track faculty

Applications are accepted once per year. 

If funds remain after the initial funding period, applications may be accepted on a rolling basis. This will be announced on this website.

Yes, but to be considered, please address your commitment and motivation to academics and how research will contribute to this in your personal statement.

No; Only CEC students (majors or minors) are eligible for funding through MJF. However, we firmly believe in the benefits and opportunities created by research. There are many options for non-CEC students to get involved in CEC research. We encourage you to contact faculty who are involved in projects that interest you to learn more. The Office of Undergraduate Research can also help, email our@sc.edu.

Yes, but priority will be given to new submissions (students who have not been funded previously). ALL students must go through the same application process - so you will need to submit a new application to be considered for the next academic year.

  • Once awarded, you will be hired by your mentor's department.
IF you are hired hourly:
  • Hours need to be submitted every week in iTAMS, USC's electronic timecard system.
  • Find out from your mentor, who hired you in the department and that person should be able to show you the iTAMS process.
  • You will only be paid for the hours worked.
  • Be sure to SUBMIT hours for approval every week to get paid in a timely manner.

Ask your mentor FIRST! Many projects must be kept confidential. Ask your mentor what you can and cannot say.

Research is tough and sometimes things don't go as expected. The first step is to meet with your mentor and try to work it out. Check out our page on working with a mentor for some helpful hints. There is also a document on this page regarding your Rights, Responsibilities and Resources as a researcher that may be useful. 

If you need help or want to talk at any point, email McNAIRFellows@sc.edu for an appointment.


Joshua Halbritter
“The McNAIR Junior Fellows program has had an invaluable influence on my undergraduate years at USC. It has been an excellent outlet for applying so many of the methods and ideas I have been taught during lectures. Each new research project has always come as a new and exciting challenge. Every research topic is developed from real needs in the aerospace industry, such that we get introduced to, and work with many of the leaders from industry such as NASA, Ingersoll, Boeing and many more. I am proud to say that my stay with the McNAIR Center will not end with the completion of my undergraduate degree. I have been provided with the wonderful opportunity of continuing my current research throughout the master’s program. I greatly look forward to increasing my time spent on research, along with the challenges and successes that will follow.”

Tyler Strampp
“The McNAIR Junior Fellows program exposed me to technical systems and problem solving opportunities that are normally reserved for graduate students. Thanks to the program, I have knowledge of multiple modeling software systems which gives me more career opportunities than school alone. The freedom given to the teams made successes and consequences of key decisions carry greater importance –similar to the professional world. After all, the real world doesn’t have letter grades. The opportunity to work in a small team with the challenge of different schedules meant that members needed to work individually as well and give reports during meetings. The combination of individual and team work meets requirements that many professional jobs require.”

Michael Haddad
"I love most the creativity associated with the experiments. Every day we face a new situation and challenge ourselves to develop a solution with the resources and time we have available. Also being that this program is perfectly inclusive to a busy schedule. It is what you make of it, the time commitment is easy enough to balance between classes and work. Many times MJF proves to be the most interesting part of my day."

 

Awardees

  • Maximum award is $3000 but may range from $2000-3000
    • summer salary only
    • salary rate minimum of $10/hour
    • full award covers maximum of 300 hours of work 
    • only paid for hours worked
    • minimum of 5 hours/week
    • in general, hours will be submitted and approved through iTAMS (USC's electronic timecard system)
  • Funds will be transferred to the mentor's incentive account
  • The mentor is responsible for ensuring the student is hired and approves hours
  • Funds are for student salary only and poster printing; may not be used for supplies/travel
  • Funds may NOT be transferred to a different student
  • If student fails to meet mentor expectations or hours of work, remaining funds are to be returned to the program (please contact McNAIRFellows@sc.edu with questions)
  • Up to 300 hours of work over the summer; minimum of 5 hours/week. NOTE: awardees must record and submit hours worked through iTAMS, USC's electronic timecard system, every week. Ask your mentor who to talk with about this process.
  • Attend orientation, the summer professional development workshop series, and other MJF Community of Scholar activities.
  • Complete the on-line CITI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) / Ethics Modules
  • Additional oversight is required for projects involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, or travel outside the US. 
  • Maintain consistent effort towards the completion of the project throughout the grant period. This is evaluated by the research mentor through the Research Registry system, based on this rubric OR upon a set of guidelines/requirements established by the mentor for a successful semester of research.
  • Poster presentation at the Summer Poster Symposium held at the end of July/first of August *NOTE a pdf/jpg of poster must be provided through Blackboard and may be posted on-line.
  • Awardees are strongly encouraged to:

In 2018, Dr. Hossein Haj-Hariri, Dean of the College of Engineering and Computing, expanded the existing McNAIR Junior Fellows program by committing funds to support students engaged in mentored research experiences throughout the CEC. The following students have been funded by year:

Omari Adams
Mentor: Xinyu Huang, Mechanical Engineering
External Compression Testing

Andrew Anderson
Mentor: Ramy Harik, Mechanical Engineering
Thermoplastics AFP Exploration

Taylor Bauman
Mentor: Melissa Moss, Biomedical Engineering
Determining Methods to Alter Amyloid β-Protein Aggregation

Eboni Brown
Mentor: Erdem Sasmaz, Chemical Engineering
Specially Designed Nano-Structures for Low Temperature Reforming Applications

Brennan Cain
Mentor: Nikolaos Vitzilaios, Mechanical Engineering
UAV-USV collaboration

Andrew Campbell
Mentor: Michael Sutton, Mechanical Engineering
Preliminary Studies of Drone-based StereoDIC for inspection of Civilian Infrastructure

Elsa Compton
Mentor: Michael Sutton, Mechanical Engineering
Viscoelastic Properties of Thermoplastic Composite

Hunter Damron
Mentor: Ioannis Rekleitis, Computer Science and Engineering
Hierarchical State Estimation of an Underwater Robot

Ben Douglas
Mentor: Charles Pierce, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Evaluating Physical and Mechanical Properties of Gypsum Soils Stabilized with Asphalt Emulsion

Lucas Dull
Mentor: Sang Hee Won, Mechanical Engineering
Characterization of NOx formation in the hydrocarbon post-flame zone

Natalie Duprez
Mentor: Kenneth Roberts, Chemical Engineering
Examining Photoactive and Thermoelectric Properties of Polymer-Metal Composites for Potential Use in Harvesting of Energy

Lisa Falta
Mentor: Shamia Hoque, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Sustainable healthy building design

Brandon Fryson
Mentor: Enrica Viparellia, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Channel-Floodplain Interactions

Roberto Gambarini
Mentor: Chang Liu, Biomedical Engineering
Detection of diseased DNA fragments using nanoparticle attached CRISPR

Hayley Hall
Mentor: Michael Gower, Chemical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering
Assessing the ability of resveratrol releasing scaffolds to support healthy dietary changes as a treatment strategy for type 2 diabetes

James Johnson
Mentor: Ioannis Rekleitis, Computer Science and Engineering
Autonomous 3D Coverage of Underwater Structures

Tristan Klintworth
Mentor: Pooyan Jamshidi, Computer Science and Engineering
Counterfactual Reasoning for Debugging Artificial Intelligence Systems

Carly Lawyer
Mentor: Erfan Goharian, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Vulnerability Assessment of Storm Water Management Ponds to Sea Level Rise in Coastal Regions of South Carolina

Shilpkumar Patel
Mentor: Shamia Hoque, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Effects of Ventilation Design on Bacterial Transport

Andrew Re
Mentor: Nikolaos Vitzilaios, Mechanical Engineering
Small UAV development

Sydney Sanders
Mentor: Enrica Viparelli, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Effect of Sediment Patterns on Floodplains

John Weiss
Mentor: John Weidner, Chemical Engineering
Simulating the Performance of Porous Materials for Energy Applications

 

Prior to Summer 2018, students were selected to participate each semester.  Those who acheived a minimum of 200 hours in the program over at least 2 academic semesters for seniors or a minimum of 5 hours per week over 3 semesters for all others, could apply to be recognized with the title of McNAIR Junior Fellow.

 

The following students achieved the title of McNAIR Junior Fellow Graduates:

Mark Ablonczy
Conner Brown
Nicholas Coppola
Connor Frailey
Peter Reeves Gilday
Michael Haddad
Sam Jones
Michael Keifer
Timothy Phelps
Susan Rogers
Megan Ryan
Cody Shuman
Paul Sinkez
Jackson Swiney
Stephen Williams
Ziamara Wilson
Brian Youngblood

Wes Drawbridge
Jonathan Fang
Joshua Halbritter
Daniel Lin
Liudas Panavas
Alejandro Rodriguez
Rachel Rudd
Kevin Scharf
Brandon Seay
Aaron Smith
Tyler Strampp
Frank Thomas
Alexander Wolfgang Tuk
Kieran Twohig
Alexander Zuloaga

 The following students were program participants by semester:

Abdullah Albuhussain
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Ilyass Alkindi
Mentor: Darun Barazanchy
Topsteer

Ayuob Alwahaibi
Mentor: Sang Hee Won
Diagnostics in Jet Fuel Combustion

Andrew Anderson
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Robert Bass
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Composite materials manufacturing and testing

Gregory Belk
Mentor: Tanvir Farouk
Plasma Research

Joshua Billings
Mentor: Floris van Zenten
ODB Extraction

Christopher Blouin
Mentor: Wout De Backer
3D Printing

William Bonarrigo
Mentor: Roudy Wehbe
Composites Design, Testing & Manufacturing

David Brown
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Sensor Fusion

Nicholas Busby
Mentor: Burton Rhodes
HAAS CNC

Robert Carter
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

Tanner Clarkson
Mentor: Ramy Harik
AFP Layup Strategies

John Cooley
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Composite Materials Manufacturing and Characterization

Nick DeMaio
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Tyler Dillard
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Composite Manufacturing & Testing

Alexander Epps
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Ballistic Material Characterization

John Fewell
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Defects Inspection

Cade Fisher
Mentors: Zafer Gurdal and Israel Ayodele
Composites Testing

Peter Gilday
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Plasma Surface Treatment and Testing

Michael Haddad
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Contamination/Characterization of Composites

Clint Harmon
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Jeremy Herrera
Mentor: Benjamin Greenberg
Heat Process Control for AFP

Abby Herschman
Mentors: Wout De Backer and Arturs Berg
3D Printing

Cameron Knox
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Mario Maria
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Josh Patel
Mentor: Benjamin Greenberg
Heat Process Control for AFP

Cody Shuman
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Composites Bonding Process

Ryan Smith
Mentor: Ramy Harik
AFP Layup Strategies

Jackson Swiney
Mentor: Burton Rhodes
Automated Fiber Placement

Brendan Whitmire
Mentor: Andy Eulberg
AFP Manufacturing Room

Stephen Williams
Mentor: Ramy Harik
Process Planning for AFP

Ziamara Wilson
Mentor: Clint Saidy
Supplier Cost Switch Modeling

Brian Youngblood
Mentor:   
Advanced Composite Manufacturing

Hanxin Zheng
Mentor: Ramy Harik
AFP Layup Strategies

Nicolas Zuppas
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Defects Inspection

Abudallah Albuhussain
Mentor: Brian Tatting
AFP Part Marker

Faris AlFarsi
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

Raid Al-Rashdi
Mentors: Caleb Pupo and FlorisJan van Zenten
Fiber Steering

Ayuob Alwahaibi
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

Robert Bass
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Composite materials manufacturing and testing

Gregory Belk
Mentor: Tanvir Farouk
Plasma Research

Joshua Billings
Mentor: Caleb Puppo
ODB Extraction

Christophe Blouin
Mentor: Jessie Pandher
Induction Welding

William Bonarrigo
Mentor: Roudy Wehbe
Composites Design, Testing & Manufacturing

Conner Brown
Mentor: Ramy Harik
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

David Brown
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Sensor Fusion

Nicholas Busby
Mentor: Burton Rhodes
HAAS CNC

Robert Carter
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

Marquis Cheeseboro
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Defects Inspection

Theodore Cook
Mentors: Zafer Gurdal and Ramy Harik
Automated Manufacturing

Nicholas Coppola
Mentor: Jessie Pandher
Induction Welding

Matthew Cover
Mentor: Wout De Backer
3D Printing

Jay Crook
Mentor: Clint Saidy
Value Stream Mapping

Tyler Dillard
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Composite Manufacturing & Testing

Austin Dove
Mentor: Ramy Harik
AFP Process Planning

Rajeh Faraj
Mentor: Wout De Backer
3D Printing

Conner Frailey
Mentor: Wout De Backer
3D Printing

Peter Gilday
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Plasma Surface Treatment and Testing

Benjamin Greenberg
Mentor: Ramy Harik
Thermoplastic AFP Machine

Michael Haddad
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Contamination and Characterisation of Composite Surface

Jeremy Herrera
Mentor: Kaishu Xia
Heat Process Control for AFP

Abby Herschman
Mentors: Wout De Backer and Arturs Berg
3D Printing

Corey Hubert
Mentor: Roudy Wehbe
Composites Design, Testing & Manufacturing

Chibuzo Ibemere
Mentor: Luis Bahamonde
Finite Elements

Noemie Iniguez
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Ballistic Material Modeling

Sam Jones
Mentor: Ramy Harik
HAAS CNC Machine

Sadad Khan
Mentor: Darun Barazanchy
Programming

Joseph Lafond-Favieres
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Composite materials manufacturing and testing

Elijah Losoff
Mentor: Subramani Sockalingam
Ballistic Material Modeling

Matthew McGee
Mentor: Luis Bahamonde
Topology Optimisation of Composites

Theodore Meiners
Mentor: Brian Tatting
AFP Part Marker

Syed Noor
Mentor: Brian Tatting
AFP Part Marker

Josh Patel
Mentor: Kaishu Xia
Heat Process Control for AFP

Jacob Payne
Mentor: Jessie Pandher
Programming

Hunter Peskar
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

Jeremy Petzel
Mentor: Wout De Backer
3D Printing

Timothy Phelps
Mentor: Israel Ayodele
Composites Testing

Jared Polikoff
Mentor: Jessie Pandher
Induction Welding

August Price
Mentor: Luis Bahamonde
Finite Elements

Megan Ryan
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Characterization of Composite Surface

Alicia Sheinkin
Mentor: Jessie Pandher
Induction Welding

Daniel Shuler
Mentor: Israel Ayodele
Composites Testing

Cody Shuman
Mentor: Ibrahim Sarikaya
Composites Bonding Process

Joe Simpson
Mentor: Luidas Panavas
Supply Chain Tool Development

Paul Sinkez
Mentor: Wout De Backer
UAV 3D Printing

Ryan Glenn Smith
Mentor: Roudy Wehbe
Composites Design, Testing & Manufacturing

Vijay Soni
Mentor: Ramy Harik
Composites Research

Christopher Stein
Mentor: Zafer Gurdal
Automated Manufacturing of Composites

David Steiner
Mentor: Clint Saidy
Value Stream Mapping

Jackson Swiney
Mentor: Burton Rhodes
Automated Fiber Placement Programming

Alexander Vereen
Mentors: Caleb Pupo and FlorisJan van Zenten
Fiber Steering

Stephen Williams
Mentor: Ramy Harik
Process Planning for AFP

Ziamara Wilson
Mentor: Clint Saidy
Supplier Cost Switch Modeling

Joanne Wu
Mentor: Israel Ayodele
Composites Testing

Brian Youngblood
Mentor:  
Advanced Composite Manufacturing

Nicolas Zuppas
Mentors: Chris Sacco and Anis Radwan
AFP Defects Inspection

Mark Ablonczy
Adam Batton
David Bianco
Devon Brosius
Treyvon Brunson
Cody Carter
Carl Chandler
Nicholas Coppola
Miles Deluca
Joshua deMedici
John Dreher
Kingsley Etonwana Nweye
Jonathan Fang
Matt Fecas
Mike Fritsky
Joseph Gibbs
Josh Halbritter
Christopher Head
Abigail Herschman
Jodecy Hithe
Michael Shane Issa
Sam Jones
Michael Keifer
Anil Kilcali
Riley Knight
Jeffrey Koch
Daniel LiCause
Juan Licea
Daniel Lin
David Long
William Long
Julia Martirano
Matt McGee
Jordan McMahan
Maxwell Mohr
Robert Moore
Shana Mussel
Anthony Nguyen
Miguel Nillas
Syed Noor
Ryan Odom
Charles Jared Ott
Liudas Panavas
David Payne
Jeremy Petzel
Timothy Phelps
Mary Philips
James Ponticello
Andrew Re
Alejandro Rodriguez
Susan Rogers
Rachel Rudd
Alex Santelle
Kevin Scharf
Brandon Seay
Olaoluwa Shorinwa
Kishan Singh
Aaron Smith
Grayson Smith
Jake Snider
Reid Stayanoff
Tyler Strampp
Jackson Swiney
Frank Thomas
Dakari Towns
Wolfgang Tuk
Kieran Twohig
Kristin VanLuit
Graham Vaught
Aaron Vincent
Zhixiang Wang
Jordan Waters
Cameron Wilkes
Tao Wu
Brian Youngblood
Alexander Zuloaga

 

 

 The McNAIR Junior Fellows program has been invaluable in helping me begin my career in research, particularly in coauthoring my first article for a scientific publication.

Alex Zuloaga