ASPIRE - Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is needed to apply and when will the application be available?

A: Thank you for your interest in HERL’s summer REU program, “American Student Placements in Rehabilitation Engineering (ASPIRE).” For the 2019 cohort, HERL is participating in a pilot program called the Common Application which allows students to apply to multiple REU sites with a single application.

To apply, please visit the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates website. Select "How to Apply" in the top menu, then click on the link "Engineering common application." Be sure to then select "ASPIRE" and follow the instructions.

The application deadline is Friday, March 1, 2019.  Offer letters will be e-mailed Friday, March 22, 2019. 

Q: Who is eligible to apply to the ASPIRE program?
A: Applicants must be enrolled in a bachelor degree program at the time of the REU. Seniors who will graduate before the summer of 2019 are not eligible to apply.

Q: What academic background is required for ASPIRE?
A: No particular background is required. Some examples of past participants' academic backgrounds include: all domains of engineering, computer science, rehabilitation science, exercise physiology, psychology, and biology. Most previous participants had GPA's greater than 3.0. 

Q: How many students apply to the program each year?
A: From an applicant pool of approximately 200, we will accept 10 students.

Q: I am not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Can I still apply?
A: Yes. While the funding agency (NSF) does not fund international students, there may be a position for a foreign student (either in the U.S. or abroad) to take part in the REU program. 

Q: When is the deadline to apply? When will I know if I have been accepted?
A: The application deadline is March 2, 2019.  Offer letters will be e-mailed Friday, March 22, 2019.

Q: I received an offer of admission. What do I need to do?
Once you have accepted your offer, you will be required to complete new hire paperwork, which will include online training modules required by the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Q: How are students matched with a faculty mentor and research project?
A: Students will indicate their top three projects choices on their application. A committee will review the applications and select students based on their academic record, accomplishments, and their letter of recommendation.  Every effort is made to match students with one of their choices; however, we cannot guarantee students will be offered one of the projects they list on their application.

Q: When does the program begin and end?
A: May 20, 2019 - July 26, 2019

Q. Is there a stipend for participants?
ASPIRE REU participants receive a stipend of $4,750. 

Q: Is housing provided?
A: On-campus housing is available at no cost to non-local participants.  Local residents will be offered housing only if space is available.

Q: Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
A: Randy Williams,

Support for these programs is provided by the National Science Foundation, Grants EEC 0545865, 1063017, 1262670.

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