Research Opportunities


Scroll down for the current research opportunities for undergraduate students.

Research Experience for Undergraduates

Some faculty members may hire undergraduate students to assist them on their research projects. Take some time to explore the faculty web pages to learn about department research activities, and contact faculty members in your area of interest to ask if a position is available.

Honors Research Program

Students in the University Honors Program may choose to enroll in a Mechanical Engineering Honors Research course, ME 3299, and work in a research laboratory to earn credits. These credits may be applied toward the Honors Program requirements and will count as a technical elective. As part of the course, the students will be involved in research programs of their choice in areas of emerging technologies. The research work will be directed by a Mechanical Engineering faculty member who serves as the research advisor for the course. The work typically involves collaborative efforts with graduate students and other researchers and provides significant independent problem-solving experience to supplement the classroom experience obtained from traditional coursework. Explore the website to learn about research labs and contact faculty members in areas of interest to ask about completing an Honors Research course in their lab.

It is expected that the students will enroll in the ME Honors Research courses during their Junior and Senior years, working on a focused research project, ideally for multiple semesters. There is also the possibility of continuing work during the summer months as an undergraduate research assistant. The research work is expected to culminate in a technical publication in a recognized scientific or engineering journal or conference proceeding. This research publication can form the basis for the Honors Thesis.

Current Opportunities Actively Seeking Undergraduate Student Researchers (Fall 2023)

Prof. Anna Tarakanova – the details of this project can be found here

  • Multiple projects in computational mechanics and molecular simulation
  • Programming/scripting experience preferred but not required, Sophomore/Junior/Senior
  • If interested email a resume and brief cover letter Prof. Tarakanova

Prof. Hongyi Xu – the details of this project can be found here

  • AI-assisted Computational Design of Metamaterials and Lattice Structures
  • Junior or Senior level
  • If interested email Prof. Xu

Prof. Alexei Poludnenko – the details of this project can be found here

  • Computational modeling of modern aerospace propulsion systems, supercomputing
  • Fluids I / II, experience with programming
  • If interested email Prof. Poludnenko

Prof. Xinyu Zhao – the details of this project can be found here

  • I am looking for an undergraduate student who is passionate about computational research and propulsion. The candidate will first learn about the relevant literature and tools on radiative heat transfer for gas turbine engines and then proceed to conduct simulations on radiative heat transfer on canonical combustion applications. The student will have opportunity to intern at and interact with engineers from Pratt & Whitney. Students with strong interest on computational research and propulsion, as well as strong academic record will be considered for this position.
  • Junior or Senior students with strong computer skills. Very motivated sophomore students will be considered too.
  • Please email Prof. Zhao for details

Prof. Baki Cetegen – the details of this project can be found here

  • Gas turbine combustor heat transfer
  • This announcement is for an Accelerated MS student position that is fully funded
  • If interested email Prof. Cetegen

Prof. Julian Norato – the details of this project can be found here

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Computational Topology Optimization
  • Junior / programming experience
  • If interested email Prof. Norato

Prof. Chang Liu – the details of this project can be found here

  • Potential projects for undergraduate research will be focused on computational and theoretical analysis of fluid dynamics. Some topics include:
    1. Drag reduction of flow over complex surface
    2. Convection in oceanography applications 
    3. Optimal sensor and actuator placement in active flow control 
    4. Data-driven prediction in climate motivated models 
    5.Quantum algorithms for linear algebra and applications in hydrodynamics.
  • The students responsibilities include problem formulation, programming, and data analysis. The student may earn credit for independent study or Mechanical Engineering Honors Research course. Application of summer research fellowship will also be encouraged and supported.
  • Senior or junior students having a strong background in mathematics, physics, and computer programming (Python or MATLAB). Courses in fluid dynamics and prior research experience are desired.
  • Interested students can apply this research opportunity by sending an email to Dr. Chang Liu with a copy of your CV and transcript. A paragraph describing the project you are interested in, your motivation and the preferred research duration will be appreciated.

Prof. Xinyu Zhao – the details of this project can be found here

  • I am looking for an undergraduate assistant to couple the cantera software to a CFD package OpenFOAM. Please email Prof. Zhao for details and expected results. Suitable candidate would be compensated at $25 per hour for this research opportunity.
  • Student should have good programming skills and knowledge/interest in combustion.

Prof. Hongyi Xu – the details of this project can be found here

  • Numerical modeling of Fluid-Structure Interaction system and Machine Learning
  • Work with Prof. Xu for a senior design project and then continue this research for the MS study within his group
  • If interested email Prof. Xu

Prof. George Lykotrafitis – the details of this project can be found here

  • Quantum reinforcement learning applied to autonomous navigation of swarms of underwater drones. Flyer here with additional information.
  • Please email Prof. Lykotrafitis for details. 
  • Junior Student should have working knowledge of Python.

Prof. Wilson Chiu – the details of this project can be found here

  • Two Opportunities: Next Generation Nuclear Reactors; Li-ion Batteries
  • Junior level
  • If interested email Prof. Chiu