Educational Programs

Heat Transfer Boot Camp

Participants in the REU program will begin the summer with an introduction to heat transfer through a four-day boot camp, which is critical since participants may not have taken coursework in heat transfer. The boot camp is co-taught by Dr. Meacham and Dr. Boyd. It’s highly interactive, using team-based problem solving. It’s a great way for participants to get to know each other.

Boot Camp Schedule

Day 1


Day 2


Day 3


Day 4


Introduction to heat transfer and thermal management issues Conduction Fluids and Convection Boiling/Condensation and Radiation

Final Research Symposium and Poster Palooza!

At the end of the summer, participants will present their research findings via a 10 minute oral presentation at the Final Research Symposium and a research poster at Poster Palooza, a joint poster presentation event for all summer undergraduate researchers in engineering at WashU.

Career Preparation

Meet the Faculty

On Tuesdays, REU students have lunch with a WashU engineering faculty member. Each lunch is different, but the faculty discuss topics such as their background, research, experiences in graduate school, and how they became interested in becoming professors. It’s fascinating to learn people’s journey to where they are now and the struggles they faced along the way.

Graduate School

Participants can participate in a half-day GRE crash course, where students will learn about the format of the exam, when to take it, how to study. During the interactive crash course, participants will try out some GRE questions and leave with Princeton Review study materials.

One-on-One Advising

Dr. Boyd, the REU Program Director, will meet one-on-one with each student in the REU program at three points throughout the summer, with the goal of helping the student identify and learn what path they would like to take post-graduation and help set goals on how to get there. The advising sessions have proven to be one of the most long-lasting, impactful portions of the program.

Professional Tours and Talks

Students have the option of attending several industry and research facility tours, as well as presentations by engineers working in thermal management industries. The tours and speakers listed below have been selected to educate students about thermal management careers at all scales: micro-, component, and systems.

Cisco The Boeing Company Doosan Babcock
Center for Solar Energy and Energy Storage McClure Engineering Maryland Heights Renewable Energy Center
Cortex   Advanced Coal and Energy Research Facility

Boeing is an aerospace designer, manufacturer, and defense contractor. The company’s Defense, Space, and Security division is located in St. Louis. Dr. Edward Whalen, Research & Technology Project Manager, will facilitate tours of Boeing’s Advanced Aeromechanical Control Effector Systems (AACES) laboratory and Facility for Integrated Research of Subsystems Technology (FIRST) laboratory.

Doosan Babcock is a power sector original equipment manufacturer headquartered in Crawley, England. Engineers at Doosan will give a virtual presentation highlighting the innovative technologies they are developing for thermal management of power plants including oxy-fuel boilers that use pure oxygen rather than air as the primary oxidant to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Cisco develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products. They are headquartered in San Jose, CA. Engineers at Cisco will give a virtual presentation to students highlighting cutting-edge technologies they are developing to cool computer processors in order to increase computational speed.

The Maryland Heights Renewable Energy Center converts gas from decomposing trash (methane) into electricity. The facility produces 15 megawatts of renewable electricity using natural gas-fired and oil-fired combustion turbine generators.

McClure Engineering is a Wash U contractor that designs commercial HVAC systems. Engineers will give students an overview of how HVAC systems are designed and function. Ryan Lynch, Wash U’s HVAC Service Manager, will give the students a tour of the most sophisticated units on campus.

The Center for Solar Energy and Energy Storage, located at Wash U, seeks to advance technologies in solar energy conversion, cost-effective battery energy storage, and renewable energy systems at a global scale. The center coordinator, Dr. Vijay Ramani, will give students a tour of the facilities.

The Advanced Coal and Energy Research Facility, located at Wash U, houses research on advanced coal and carbon capture technologies with the goal of fostering the utilization of coal as a safe and affordable source of energy, and as a chemical feedstock, with minimal impact on the environment. It’s Director, Dr. Richard Axelbaum, will give students a tour of the facilities.

The Cortex Innovation Community is a 200-acre start-up hub and innovation district collaboration between Wash U, University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis University, the BJC Healthcare System, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Cortex was formed in 2002 to capture the commercial benefits of university and regional corporate research for St. Louis. Currently, there are over 250 companies that call the Cortex Innovation Community home [13], including an early-stage company founded by Co-PI Meacham. Students will tour their facilities, speak with entrepreneurs, and network with those in the start-up community at a Venture Café networking event.

Social Activities

The program hosts weekly social activities around St. Louis, completely funded by the program. This allows participants to see the city and have fun! Some examples include tour of the St. Louis Arch, trip to Six Flags, escape room, evening Garden Glow at the Missouri Botanical Garden, attending a musical the the outdoor MUNY theater, and much more.


Participants have the opportunity to give back and serve as role models to high school students participating in WashU’s College Prep program. Participants can serve as teaching assistants for a two-hour, hands-on engineering course for the College Prep students.