Learn valuable skills you can apply in your future career through faculty-led research opportunities. Wherever your future career takes you, research opportunities through MDP will allow you to develop valuable, life-long technical and professional skills to help you be successful while giving you a head start on building your research and professional work experience. Explore your curiosity and creativity by working on pioneering research topics across various fields of engineering. Whether you want to design and build a robot or develop a software program there is sure to be a role that fits your interests.
- MDP currently offers 9 faculty-led research projects of 10-40 students (from varied majors) per team. Check out our research projects for a detailed list of our current project offerings!
- Teams are broken down into 4-7 subteams (2-7 students per subteam) based on the technical skills required for certain research tasks.
Each subteam is led by a subteam leader – a more experienced student on the team.
- Team members receive direct guidance and mentorship from the faculty Primary Investigator(s)/PI(s).
- Some current and past FRST students have published their work in scientific journals, co-authored patents, and began their own startups through participating in the FRST program
The FRST MDP coursework is completed through the research efforts and group meetings of the research group; there are no lectures and no exams. Per the CoE Policy for the Assignment of Credit Hours, students should expect to spend about 4 hours of effort (including meetings) per credit hour per week.
Continue reading the following sections for additional information about the FRST program requirements, summer research opportunities, and details about program expectations, events, deadlines, and MDP support for students.
MDP strongly encourages all FRST students to continue working on their FRST projects beyond the 2-semester minimum as students benefit from long-term participation. As students gain experience, they become eligible for leadership positions on the team, deepen their technical/research skills, and further access valuable, meaningful learning opportunities (such as conference presentations and publication opportunities).
Though each research team is different, and the faculty PI may have their own unique requirements, students can generally expect to spend their time each week as follows:
Weekly/Biweekly Meetings with the Entire FRST Team and PI (1-2 hr/week or biweekly)
Weekly Research Planning Meeting with Subteam (1 hr/week)
Weekly Work Together Time (2-4 hrs/week)
Weekly Independent Work Time (2-10 hrs/week, depending on the number of enrolled credits)
New Cohort Onboarding
- Apprentice Dinner (Early-Mid November or December) – meet fellow cohort and learn how to succeed in your research experience
- JumpStart Kickoff Dinner (Early January) – meet team members and faculty PI
- Research plan due (Mid-Late January) – research plans are to be established amongst subteam members and faculty PI
Events Throughout the Year for All FRST Students
- MDP Events and Workshops (1-2 per month during Fall and Winter terms) – MDP hosts social/team building events, professional development activities, and workshops to help students develop new skills that they can bring to their teams. While they are not mandatory, they are highly encouraged for the student’s benefit. Students who participate maximize their personal and professional growth and are more satisfied with their teams.
- Design Expos (Mid-December and April) – Events for team members to showcase their research to other MDP teams and the broader campus community and to practice their presentation skills.
Additional Support from MDP
In addition to the events and programming offered throughout the year, MDP also provides 1:1 coaching/mentoring to MDP students. Ellen Solomon is the FRST Program Manager and hosts in-person or virtual office hours each week. Topics of discussion vary but have included questions about the FRST/MDP program and research in general, advice and guidance on seeking professional development, applying to and preparing for graduate school, and preparing resumes as well as conversations about professional development and support for FRST teams.
To learn more about Ellen and how she can support you and your team, check out her bio page or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a meeting with her.