Lessons Learned in Adopting a Multi-Site Combined REU/RET Program for Exclusive Remote Participation Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Kofi Nyarko, Associate Professor, Morgan State University

The Smart City Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experience for Teachers (RET) (SCR2) Mega-Site program, which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (#1849454), was formed in 2018 to address the low participation and graduation rates of post-secondary students belonging to underrepresented minority groups in the engineering field. The participating schools in the program are all minority serving and members of a consortium consisting of 14 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and 1 Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), where Morgan State University (MSU) serves as the lead institution. The program targets lower division underperforming REU students who are less likely to have the opportunity to participate in research as undergraduates. Participation in this type of experience has been demonstrated to be transformative and to have the potential to increase retention and graduation rates at these institutions.