Protege Undergraduate Research Program

The protege program was started by the College of Engineering and Applied Science during the summer of 2013. The goal of the program is to make students aware of opportunities for careers in research. These opportunities are for outstanding first-year students to work with leading CEAS research faculty in their faculty labs during the summer after their first year in CEAS.

The program initially included five to six students per year but in 2016, the program was expanded to eleven students and included research at industrial and governmental partners. The program has been administered by a committee of senior faculty members (J. Boerio, T. Mantei, and R. Huston)

For More Information Concerning Protégé, Contact: Dr. James Boerio,


The Protege program enhances the student experience by having them learn to conduct research, work as part of a team, keep laboratory notebooks, write reports, and make presentations.

In addition, students are paid at the rate of $15.00 per hour for 40 hours of work each week between 12-15 weeks in the summer. The length of the program is at the discretion of the mentor, 12 week being the minimum.

The opportunity allows students to determine if they wish to pursue a co-op position and career in research. At the same time, participating industrial and governmental partners have an early opportunity to recruit highly talented and motivated student researchers.

Selection Process

Each spring, first year CEAS students who performed at a high level during the autumn semester are identified by a CEAS faculty committee. Most participating students have grade point averages ≥ 3.75. Students are interviewed to determine interest in research careers and availability to work in Cincinnati or at the location of an industrial or governmental partner over the summer.

Interviews are conducted by the CEAS faculty committee and by participating partners in which a diverse groups of students are selected.


  • Report for work at appropriate times
  • Learn as much as possible about your project
  • Show interest in and enthusiasm for the project
  • Do good research
  • Participate in initial workshop
  • Submit a short mid-summer report
  • Submit a short final report
  • Participate in final symposium
  • Don't work more than forty (40) hours per week!
  • Contact Dr. James Boerio, ( if there are any problems

Types of Research Projects

Research projects that are involved with the Protege program must advance the state of knowledge or understanding in a particular field. Students do not usually define the project and are defined by the mentors. These are not make-work projects. Protégé students usually contribute to an important, larger project that are usually funded by some agency or industry that are important to the company. Students and mentors must agree on the project

2018 Research Topics

Summer 2018 - Undergraduate Research Topics
Department Research Area
Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics Airfoil, Compressor & Fan Design with Compression Dr. Turner
Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics Decelerator (think parachute) Inspired by Maple Seed Dr. Turner
Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics Gas Dynamics and Propulsion Laboratory (14 projects) Dr. Gutmark
Biomedical Engineering
Engineering Aligned, Bioactive Polymers for Peripheral Nerve Repair
Dr. Harris
Chemical and Environmental Engineering Advanced Biofuels Development from Renewable Biomass Dr. Tu
Chemical and Environmental Engineering Catalytic Elemental Mercury Oxidation (3 projects) Dr. Lee
Chemical and Environmental Engineering Electrocatalytic Conversion of Carbon Dioxide into Ethanol Dr. Wu
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Microelectronics and Integrated Systems with Neuro-centric Devices (MIND) Lab (2 Projects) Dr. Jha
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Networked Requirements Traceability Dr. Niu
Mechanical and Materials Engineering Eco-Friendly 3D Printing Dr. Sundaram
Mechanical and Materials Engineering Exploring Water as a Cutting Tool Dr. Sundaram
Mechanical and Materials Engineering Universal Millirobot Dr. Schulz
Mechanical and Materials Engineering Energy Storage Devices Based on Three Dimensional Graphene and Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) (2 Projects) Dr. Shanov
Mechanical and Materials Engineering Onboard Sense-Avoid (SAA) for small Unmanned Aerial Systems Dr. Kumar

Protege Mentors

  • All mentors have extensive research programs
  • All mentors are known for working with young researchers
  • Faculty usually have extensive research programs
  • Have graduate students that help mentor Protege students
  • Industry mentors have group members that help mentor students

Protege mentors are expected to work with beginning students to develop their research project. Mentors should provide students with background information about the project and be able to answer the following:

  • What is the goal?
  • What approach is envisioned?
  • What results are being sought?

Protege mentors should provide resources required to accomplish the project and be available to provide ongoing advice on the project. They should personally spend about three (3) hours per week with the student.