Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309

Copyright (c) 2014 L. Guessous


Funded by the National Science Foundation REU Site program under Grant No. EEC-1359137

2016 summer program
(May 23, 2015 - July 29, 2016)

Download AERIM-REU program announcement

Are you a motivated undergraduate student who is interested in spending 10 weeks this summer working on exciting automotive and energy research projects?

Would you like to immerse yourself in industrial/automotive research projects and experience one-on-one interactions with faculty, industrial mentors and graduate students?

Would you also like to learn more about graduate school or engineering and research careers, develop strong mentoring relationships, improve your communication skills, go on field trips and improve your resume?

If you answered yes to these questions, then the AERIM: Automotive and Energy Research and Industrial Mentorship Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program at Oakland University (OU) is for you!

Please take the time to browse through our website to learn about our program and feel free to contact us with any questions. We strongly encourage women and minority students to apply. No prior automotive or research experience required!

This program is funded in 2014-2016 by National Science Foundation REU Site program under Grant No. EEC-1359137. It was previously funded in 2010-2012 under grant EEC-1004915 and in 2006-2008 under grant EEC-0552737.

The AERIM program was set up in the department of mechanical engineering at OU to provide meaningful, hands-on, paid 10-week summer research experiences to undergraduate engineering students from across the United States. Student participants work in teams on automotive and energy-related research projects in mechanical engineering with a special emphasis on technologies that aim to improve efficiencies of internal combustion engines, automotive manufacturing processes, automotive materials, alternative propulsion systems and lubrication and wear. The goal of this program is to engage participants in rewarding research experiences that excite and motivate them to pursue careers in scientific and engineering research. In particular, one of the goals of this REU site is to address the nationwide problem of the under-representation of women and minorities in the sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and more specifically in the field of mechanical engineering.

Program Benefits

Participants in this 10-week summer research program receive the following benefits:

  • A $5,000 stipend for full participation in the 10-week REU program.
  • On-campus housing at no extra cost to those students requiring it.
  • A travel allowance of up to $400 to cover the costs of travelling to Oakland University. The amount will be based on the actual cost of transportation
  • Funds are also available to cover the travel costs of participants to a research conference.
  • A small weekly meal allowance
  • Please note that students cannot be working or taking classes during the 10 weeks of the program.


A number of additional activities are planned during the course of the program. A few examples are listed below:

  • Industrial site and research lab tours
  • Formal and informal interactions with working engineers, faculty and industry mentors
  • Activities meant to enhance students' communication skills
  • Seminars on topics related to emerging automotive and energy technologies
  • Information about graduate school
  • Conferences and professional activities (such as attending the Annual SAE Young Automotive Professionals Conference)
  • Leisure activities

Sample Research Projects

Student participants in the AERIM REU program will work on automotive and energy-related research topics in mechanical engineering with a special emphasis on automotive materials and tribology, alternative propulsion systems and technologies that aim to improve efficiencies at the vehicle-level. The links below provided information on projects completed by REU students in past years and are meant to provide an overview of the type of research that students could be involved in. The actual list of projects will be finalized prior to the start of each summer program. We will aim for a mix of projects of varying levels of complexity to accommodate students at different stages of their coursework. The actual project list and details will be tailored to the students' interests and ongoing faculty projects. Most of the projects will involve experimental work, although some may also involve computational work such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or molecular dynamics simulations. Note that research project assignments will be made the first week of the program and will be based on a matching of student preferences, course background and project availability. Most projects will involve teams of two or three students and students will be given the opportunity to discuss each project with the faculty involved prior to having to state a preference.

We are now accepting applications to the 2016 summer program. Application review will begin on April 15, 2016.

Download AERIM-REU program announcement

PLEASE NOTE: We occasionally have intermittent problems with the online application. You must use a browser with both Javascript and cookies enabled to properly submit the online form. If you experience difficulty, please download the application as a Word document and email it as an attachment to Dr. Guessous.

Application Eligibility

  • Undergraduate engineering, science or math students graduating after December 2016 (Freshmen, undeclared majors and community college students are welcome to apply) with an interest in working on automotive and energy-related research topics.
  • GPA: 3.0 or above
  • In accordance with National Science Foundation requirements, all participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
  • Students cannot be working or taking classes at the same time as the program.

While we welcome students of all backgrounds, we strongly encourage women and underrepresented minority students to apply.

No prior automotive or research experience required!

Important Dates

The 2016 AERIM Summer REU program is scheduled to take place between May 23 and July 29, 2016. Application review for the 2016 summer program will begin on April 15, 2016 and will continue until all slots have been filled.

Application Materials

The application for the 2016 Summer AERIM REU Program at Oakland University consists of an online form that must be completed by the applicant. Furthermore, a transcript (official or non-official) and up to two sealed letters of recommendation should be mailed (or emailed by the recommender) to:

Dr. Laila Guessous
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Oakland University
2200 Squirrel Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4478

The form to be used for the recommendation letters can be found below.

AERIM recommendation form: Please ask up to two persons who are familiar with your academic background and your potential to conduct research (e.g., professors, managers, etc.) to complete the AERIM recommendation form. Ask each recommender to either mail the letter of recommendation in a sealed envelope, signed across the flap to Prof. Guessous or to email it to her.

PLEASE NOTE: We occasionally have intermittent problems with the online application. You must use a browser with both Javascript and cookies enabled to properly submit the online form. If you experience difficulty, please download the application as a Word document and email it as an attachment to Dr. Guessous.

Participating Faculty and Research Areas

Some of the following faculty and staff members may supervise some of the summer research projects or assist with the program:

Dr. Laila Guessous, Professor and Program Director
Research areas: Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer
Dr. Qian (Beth) Zou, Associate Dean, Professor and Program Co-director
Research areas: Tribology - lubrication, friction and wear
Dr. Brian Sangeorzan, Professor and Department Chair
Research areas: Internal Combustion Engines; Experimental Methods
Dr. J. David Schall, Associate Professor
Research areas: Molecular Dynamics Simulations, tribology and Materials
Dr. Peng Zhao, Assistant Professor
Research areas: Combustion and Reacting Flows; Internal Combustion Engines
Dr. Lianxiang Yang, Professor
Research areas: Digital Optical Measuring Methods and nondestructive testing
Dr. Sergey Golovashchenko, Associate Professor
Research areas: Sheet metal forming and mechanics of materials
Dr. Gary Barber, Professor and Director of Automotive Tribology Center
Research areas: Automotive tribology
Dr. Xia Wang, Associate Professor
Research areas: Fuel cells and batteries
Dr. Michael Latcha, Associate Professor
Assessment and ethics program coordinator
Ms. Brenda Bond, Mechanical Engineering Dept. Adminsitrative Secretary


A total of 82 undergraduate students - more than half of them women - from 58 different universities across the United States participated in the program between 2006 and 2015. NSF provided funding for 8 students per year between 2006 and 2008 and 10 students per year between 2010 and 2012 and between 2014 and 2016. In some years, additional funding was provided by Oakland University to allow more students to take part in the program.

Each summer, student participants worked in teams of 2-3 on automotive and energy research projects under the guidance of faculty, graduate students and often industry mentors, and also took part in other activities such as industrial research lab and facilities tours, meetings with working engineers, conferences and seminars.

2015 Student Participants:

  • Emily Bautista, Virginia Tech, VA
  • Lindsay Brown, Arizona State University, AZ
  • Eduardo Bustillos, Youngstown State University, OH
  • Sean Cassady, University of Virginia, VA
  • Kathleen Dupre, University of Rochester, NY
  • Michael Greene, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Haley Linkous, Oakland University, MI
  • Olivia McIntee, Oakland University, MI
  • Kaicen Pan, Stony Brook University, NY
  • Daniel Pena, Florida International University, FL

2014 Student Participants:

  • Jazmyne Claggett, University of Maryland: College Park, MD
  • Jonathon Glover, Oakland University, MI
  • Jaime Guajardo, University of Texas at Arlington, TX
  • Jan Hellmich, University of South Alabama, AL
  • Measrainsey Meng, California State University, Los Angeles, CA
  • Caleb Messmer, University of Evansville, IN
  • Stephen Powell, Oakland University, MI
  • Maria Schueller, University of Wisconsin Platteville, WI
  • Sai Stephens, Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
  • Zachary Waldrup, Oakland University, MI
  • Other (Not supported by NSF grant): Minsheng He, Oakland University, MI

2012 Student Participants:

  • Caleb Chovan, Grove City College, PA
  • Steven De Jesus Santiago, Universitad del Turabo, Puerto Rico
  • Samantha Echaves, University of Rochester, NY
  • Alayna Fields, Alabama A and M University, AL
  • Brianna Griffin, University of Wisconsin Madison, WI
  • Ionut Harta, Oakland University, MI
  • Euver Joaquin Castillo, Rowan University, NJ
  • Betelhem Mengiste, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, MD
  • Kendal Novak, Oakland University, MI
  • Kayla Owens, Oakland University, MI
  • Trevor Rodriguez-Sotelo, Augsburg College, MN
  • Scott Shermetaro, Oakland University, MI

2011 Student Participants:

  • Madeline Beck, Lehigh University, PA
  • Jordan Easter, The University of Alabama, AL
  • Abraham Hamilton, University of Maine, ME
  • Christopher Jarrett, Oakland University, MI
  • Nancy Kelley, Missouri University of Science & Technology, MO
  • David Kingman, University of Southern California, CA
  • Natalie Mikecz, University of Wisconsin- Platteville, WI
  • Caymen Novak, Oakland University, MI
  • Bekah Perlin, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
  • Colin Pespisa, University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
  • Kyle Stern, Temple University, PA
Two additional visiting students from UiTM Malaysia, Erzwan Othman and Izzatul Aini Ibrahim, participated in some of the research projects and group activities.

2010 Student Participants:

  • Brittney Blaise, Loyola Marymount University, CA
  • Ellen Classen,University of Denver, CO
  • Michael Krak, Ohio Northern University, OH
  • Pei Yi Liang, Macomb Community College, MI
  • Brooke Ropp, Oakland University, MI
  • Juan Rueda,Texas Christian University, TX
  • Claire Silverstein, The George Washington University, DC
  • James Tilden, Rowan University, NJ
  • Juan Tobon Lotero, Johns Hopkins University, MD
  • Dennis Tucker, Oakland University, MI
  • Philip Ybarra, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA

2008 Student Participants:

  • Joseph Betcher, Lake Superior State University, MI
  • Michael Brandon Capehart, Baylor University, TX
  • Diana Chicuri, Florida International University, FL
  • Rachel Howell, Valparaiso University, IN
  • Kelsey Hulea, Youngstown State University, OH
  • Jason Kloess, University of Michigan, MI
  • Joan Liu, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, MA
  • Michael Tobin, University of Rhode Island, RI

2007 Student Participants:

  • Zakaria Ahmad, Oakland University, MI
  • Chelsye Castle, Youngstown State University, OH
  • Christine Gerpheide, Grinnell College, IA
  • Carolyn Hutchins, University of Arizona, AZ
  • Michelle Petty, University of Missouri-Columbia, MO
  • John Taphouse, University of Michigan, MI
  • Anastasia Taylor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, FL
  • Huy Tran, North Carolina State University, NC

2006 Student Participants:

  • Stacey Bagg, University of Colorado at Boulder, CO
  • Carolyn Brennan, Princeton University, NJ
  • Joshua Inouye, Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
  • Bryan Journey, University of Oklahoma, OK
  • Trevor Machuga, Oakland University, MI
  • Amanda McGrath, University of Idaho, ID
  • Melanie Payeur, University of New Hampshire, NH
  • Ashley Shoum, Rochester Institute of Technology, NY
  • Ramsey Slim, Oakland University, MI
  • Cadari Taylor, Oakland University, MI

About Oakland University

Oakland University (OU) is located in Rochester, MI, near the world headquarters and engineering centers of Chrysler, LLC., Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. as well as over one hundred automotive suppliers in southeast Michigan.

OU's School of Engineering and Computer Science (SECS) consists of four departments: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Industrial and Systems Engineering. These departments offer undergraduate and graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, industrial and systems engineering, computer engineering, and computer science.


More information about Oakland University and the OU Community

School of Engineering and Computer Science website



Contact Us

For more information about the Oakland University REU program, please contact:

Dr. Laila Guessous
Program director
Tel: 248-370-2183
Fax: 248-370-4416

Mailing Address

AERIM: Automotive and Energy REU Program
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Oakland University
Rochester, MI 48309-4478


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