Engaging Freshmen and Sophomores in Center Research

Achievement date: 

A new program aimed at underclass students—Research Immersion for Students in Engineering (RISE)—is helping generate a strong pipeline of talented students into the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), based at North Carolina State University (NCSU).


This program aims to engage these motivated students as early as possible, introduce them to ASSIST research, and provide them with the skills and experience they need to be successful researchers later in their careers. The program targets underclass students because they find it difficult to compete for research position and fellowship positions in ASSIST’s labs.


ASSIST’s active research and education programs attract students in their freshman and sophomore years, when they unfortunately lack the experience needed to win traditional positions in the Center’s labs. The RISE program initially mentored a team of four students who undertook a project to develop a low-cost, portable, exhaled CO2 monitor for emergency medicine and hospital settings. The team successfully designed and built a prototype device based on commercial off-the-shelf components. The project was subsequently taken over by a senior design team and is ongoing.


Of the four students on this initial team, one now works in an ASSIST lab as an undergraduate researcher, one continued on an industry-sponsored ASSIST project during the academic year, and a third secured an internship at one of the Center’s industry partners. The initial success of this project is encouraging, and the Center plans to expand the program in future years.