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Drexel Materials Science and Engineering Summer Institute

Are you an aspiring scientist or engineer looking for a hands-on summer experience?

Explore materials science and engineering while learning about nanotechonology and sustainability during a week-long Summer Institute!

students participating in the Summer Institute

Materials are at the core of technological advances across all disciplines. From the ever-shrinking microchip containing billions of nanoscale transistors to advances in structural steels for skyscapers, materials scientists and engineers manipulate atomic structures to change properties on small and large scales. The future possibilities for materials innovations are endless. The foundation for these innovations lies in understanding the relationship between material structures on the small scale (nanometers (1/100,000 the width of a human hair) to micrometers (1/100 the width of a human hair)) to their properties which make them useful in a given application. For nanoscale electronics, manipulating materials so that electron flow can be precisely controlled is very important. In biotechnology applications, creating material structures that can mimic body parts such as bone and organs is critical for enabling medical advances. In the field of energy, improving how materials absorb energy from sunlight is crucial for improving the efficiency of solar cells. Understanding these materials structure-property relationship begins by learning the fundamentals of materials science and engineering.

In addition enriching the understanding of structure-property relationships, future materials innovations will need to consider sustainability for long-term product development with minimal negative impacts on the climate, ecosystem and society. Since the earth has a limited supply of many of the elements that are used into advanced applications, it is important to consider both the source of materials for initial fabrication of components and end-of-life recycling so that rare earth materials can be re-used. An appreciation of sustainability is important for future materials scientists and engineers who will ultimately be stewards of the planet.

Program Overview

The Drexel University Materials Science & Engineering Summer Institute will give aspiring scientists and engineers the chance to learn about how atomic elements arrange themselves to form the materials that are all around us. Furthermore, the Summer Institute will emphasis how variables in processing of materials determine physical, mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. Through hands-on science and engineering activities, students will gain an understanding of how materials impact the fields of energy, biotechnology and electronics. Sustainability and nanotechnology will be a theme woven through all of the modules. The learning environment will include work in the Innovation Studio, a materials science and engineering laboratory, and the Centralized Research Facility with includes advanced microscopy equipment. The week will culminate with presentations in which students will discuss their results from group projects.

Group projects and learning modules will focus on three advanced technology themes:

  • Energy
  • Biotechnology
  • Composites

The roles of nanotechnology and sustainability in each of these areas will be emphasized.


*Application deadline extended until July 15th!* Applications will be accepted until July 15, 2018 and will be reviewed on a monthly basis starting in February 2018. Apply here.

Applications require three components: an essay written by the student, a transcript (official or unofficial) and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach or guidance counselor. 

The essay must be 200-400 words, submitted in PDF format and answer the following questions:

  1. What material is most interesting to you and why?
  2. Why do you want to be part of the Summer Institute?
  3. What is your planned college major (if known) and/or career plans?