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UT Austin Astronomy NSF REU Program: Frontier Research and Training in Astronomy for the 21st Century

2021 NSF REU Scholars Mentors
2021 UT Astronomy NSF REU Scholars & Mentors


The Astronomy Department of The University of Texas (UT) at Austin plans to host an in-person Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program entitled Frontier Research and Training in Astronomy for the 21st Century for eight students in summer 2022 for ten weeks from Tuesday May 31, 2022 to Wednesday August 10, 2022.  We invite all eligible students to apply, starting early December 2021. The program is funded (Principal Investigator: Dr. Shardha Jogee) by the National Science Foundation (NSF) REU program and the Department of Defense (DoD) ASSURE program, and involves a synergistic collaboration between the UT Austin Astronomy Department, McDonald Observatory, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science.

PROGRAM DETAILS: The UT Austin Astronomy Department is one of the top-ranked departments in the nation and we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in the astronomy community at large. Our REU program aims to engage the full pool of excellence in our diverse nation and to equip students with modern skills needed to succeed in the STEM landscape of the 21st century. Students in our REU program will enjoy the following:

  • A supportive and cutting-edge astronomy research environment, where they will have the opportunity to conduct research in frontier areas of astronomy, including star formation, planetary systems science (the Solar System, exoplanets), stellar astrophysics, black holes, galaxy evolution, dark matter, dark energy, cosmology, and instrumentation.

  • Research Supervision and Broad Mentorship: REU students enjoy research supervision from internationally recognized faculty, research scientists, and postdocs. The REU director also meets students regularly for broad mentorship and professional developments activities. Additionally, graduate students provide informal mentorship

  • Professional Development: We provide a wide variety of professional development and mentoring activities These typically include python coding, guidance to navigate the science landscape, science communication (posters, talks and papers), LaTeX workshops to write research notes and conference papers, an overview of STEM careers, an overview of how to apply for graduate programs, empowerment activities, and an end-of-program research symposium.   

  • An observational astronomy module in the Department on the UT Austin campus, followed by a fully funded observing trip to McDonald Observatory (if pandemic health and safety protocols allow a visit to the observatory).

  • Access  to the Texas Advanced Computing Center for modern computing techniques that drive Big Data analytics and numerical simulations

  • Financial and Logistical Support: Our REU rogram provides very generous financial and logistical support. We cover the cost of round-trip travel from the student's home institution or residence in the USA to the UT Austin campus, on-campus housing, background checks, gym fees, poster printing, as well as a round trip to McDonald observatory (if pandemic health and safety protocols allow a visit to the observatory). We also provide an allowance of $740 per week (which includes the NSF stipend of $600 and an additional supplement) for ten weeks and you can use this allowance to cover meals and other expenses. In addition, we also provide funds for REU students to attend a future professional meeting (e.g., the AAS meeting) to present their research results from our REU program. 
  • Post-REU mentorship  and funding to attend a future professional meeting (e.g., the AAS meetng) to present their results.
  • The vibrant and diverse city of Austin, which is home to eclectic and cosmopolitan music, art, culture, and food, and outdoor activities (e.g., hiking, cycling, rock climbing, and kayaking on Lady Bird Lake).

ELIGIBILITY AND APPLICATION GUIDELINES: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident who is currently enrolled as an UG student (outside of UT Austin), and will not have graduated by the end of August in the year of the REU program. We greatly value diversity among our participants: women, members of under-represented minority groups (African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders, as well as first-generation college students, students with disabilities, U.S. veterans) and members of intersectional groups. Applications received by February 10, 2022 will receive full consideration. 

CONTACT INFORMATION: If you have any questions, please contact the Astronomy Department REU Coordinator, Michael Lopez (michael.lopez@austin.utexas.edu or utastro_reu@utlists.utexas.edu; 512-471-3409 or 512-471-3000), or the Principal Investigator, Professor Shardha Jogee (sj@astro.as.utexas.edu).