Research Projects

Projects are posted below; new projects will continue to be posted through February. To learn more about the type of research conducted by undergraduates, view the 2018 Research Symposium Abstracts.

2019 projects will continue to be posted through January!

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. Please note that it is not a complete list of every SURF project. Undergraduates will discover other projects when talking directly to Purdue faculty.

You can browse all the projects on the list or view only projects in the following categories:

Educational Research/Social Science


Preparing engineers to address climate change and its implications on sustainability: modeling impact of college experiences on students

Research categories:  Civil and Construction, Educational Research/Social Science
School/Dept.: Engineering Education
Professor: Allison Godwin
Preferred major(s): All STEM majors invited to apply
Desired experience:   Some experience in statistics and programming languages is preferred. All other skills including human subject research ethics, statistical analysis in R, data management, will be taught.

Engineers are an essential part of solving the effects of climate change and must not only be aware of the issues but empowered to make change to reduce and shift the impact of humans on the planet. This research investigates engineering students' experiences during undergraduate programs that predict their beliefs about climate change and empowerment to address its related implications for sustainability in their careers. This study is the first of its kind to explore how experiences in college impact students' climate change beliefs and interest to address related implications for sustainability. This project is a collaborative effort between the Virginia Tech Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Myers-Lawson School of Construction and the Purdue University School of Engineering Education.

This SURF research project uses national survey data from ~4,000 senior engineering design students collected in 2018 along with 7,673 first-year student responses collected in 2014 to model how student experiences during undergraduate education may influence their understanding of climate change and desire to address sustainability in their future engineering careers. The SURF student will use multilevel modeling (this modeling technique will be taught to any interested student) to analyze how student beliefs, student experiences, and institutional contexts may influence students attitudes and actions over time. The student will learn complex statistics in the programming language R, analyze data and interpret findings, and write up their results for journal publication. The student will also interface with faculty and another undergraduate summer research student at Virginia Tech.