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The Engineering & Computer Science Research Internship Program is a six-week non-residential summer research internship program for rising 12th grade high school students.  Through the program we aim to positively impact talented young students from Syracuse and Central New York – and in many cases, significantly change the trajectory of their lives toward a successful future in an engineering, computer science or related STEM Field.  Our goal is to give these students the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers and leaders who will solve the most pressing problems facing our nation and our world.

Please note that interns are selected through a competitive application process.  10% of those exceptional students that applied in 2016 were accepted into the program.  Applications are due Friday, March 3, 2017.

Research internship applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Attend high school in the Central New York area and be entering their Senior Year
  • A Minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale with an interest and ability in math and/or science
  • Have access to transportation to and from campus during the internship term (this is a non-residential program)
  • Commitment to work 25 hours/week for the 6 weeks of the program (program runs from June 29 through August 11, 2017)

Applications are Due, Friday, March 3, 2017 and consist of:

  • An On-line application.  Please read over or print the entire application before entering your information.  If you leave your application before completing it, the fields you entered before submitting the completed application, will be lost.  The application must be completed on-line.  Applications must be submitted by the end of the day, Friday, March 3, 2017.
  • A request to prioritize the Research Projects.  In the on-line application you will be asked to prioritize the research projects from 1 to 6.  One being the project that most interests you and 6 being the project that leasts interests you.  The research projects are described below.
  • Your Transcript & Current Year Grade Report must be sent to Summer Research Internship Program,  Attention:  Carol Stokes-Cawley, Link 223, Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse, NY 13244 or scanned and e-mailed to The Transcript & Current Year Grade Report must be received by March 3, 2017.
  • Two letters of recommendation on school letterhead from math and/or science teachers or a high school counselor. Information for your references can be printed and given out to your references.  Recommendation letters must be received by 5 pm Friday, March 10, 2017 and be sent to:  Summer Research Internship Program,  Attention:  Carol Stokes-Cawley, Link 223, Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse, NY 13244 or be scanned and e-mail to

Summer 2017 Research Projects


zhangresearch-002Modeling and simulating the key mechanics of soft biomaterials

Teng Zhang, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

This proposed internship is part of an ongoing research project in Dr. Teng Zhang’s group, which studies the deformation, surface pattern and adhesion of soft materials. Skin, tissue and brain are natural soft materials and crucial for our health. Jell and adhesives in Scotch tape are typical man-made soft materials and used everywhere in our daily-life.  The selected student would be involved in exploiting the mechanics of soft materials with modeling and simulation. The student will learn basic mechanical models for deformed body, programming language (i.e., Python) and modeling and simulation software, such as Solidworks and Abaqus.




Research on mercury contamination of water and fish in New York State

Charles Driscoll, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Mercury is a trace metal highly toxic to humans and wildlife. Mercury is naturally occurring but its concentrations in the environment have been greatly enhanced due to human activities, such a burning of coal and mining.  Mercury released to the atmosphere can be transported globally before it is deposited to the Earth surface.  Once in the environment inorganic mercury can be converted by bacteria to methylmercury. Methylmercury strongly bioaccumulates along foodchains resulting in very high concentrations of mercury in fish.  Human exposure to mercury occurs through consumption of fish.  In this project, a student will learn how to collect samples and measure mercury in water and fish tissues. They will conduct an independent research project examining concentrations of mercury in water and fish in lakes in New York State.



Exploring new lithium-ion battery architectures made from polymer composites

Ian D. Hosein, PhD, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering

This project will explore the synthesis of different blends of polymers and their application as electrolyte membranes for lithium-ion batteries. The student will be involved in the selection, blending, and UV-curing of different polymer blends. They will perform mechanical measurements to test durability, and conduct ion conductivity measurements to assess their use in batteries. The student will have an opportunity to explore different experimental conditions to improve the membrane properties.





Cyberattacks on electricity power grids

Sara Eftekharnejad, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

This proposed internship is part of a larger project funded by National Science Foundation which studies the impact of power systems cyberattacks on electricity grids. For many years, it is believed that an increase in real-time measurement devices in power systems can make these critical infrastructure more vulnerable to widespread blackouts. However, due to lack of solid evidence, it wasn’t until only recently that it was formally considered as one of the biggest challenges the power and energy industry is facing.  The student would be involved in collection of simulation and measurement based data on various attack scenarios on these devices. The student will then conduct data interpretation on their research with the aid of software tools available at SU to classify attack types and distinguish between those who result in trivial impacts versus those that cause cascading blackouts.


social-media-image-002Assessing structural-level privacy in large-scale social networks

Reza Zafarani, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

This project will explore how user privacy is preserved in large-scale social networks. The students will (1) program data crawlers, (2) collect data from various large-scale social networks, (3) conduct network measurement experiments, and (4) and assess user privacy in various large-scale social networks. The students involved will get exposed to multiple programming languages and software tools and will have the opportunity to propose different methodologies to protect user privacy in large-scale networks.





Examining an inexpensive approach for controlled synthesis of catalytic alloy nanoparticles on high surface area supports

Jesse Bond, Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering

Metal nanoparticles have been used as catalysts for producing valuable products in both oil refining and petrochemical industries. Presently, there is interest in using such catalysts to transform biomass into biofuels and biochemicals, however, these processes are generally more complex and often demand more from the catalyst in terms of selectivity and stability.  There are still many unknowns regarding the catalytic properties of nanoscale alloys at a fundamental level, and their behavior is difficult to anticipate.  Part of the challenge lies in our inability to control and anticipate the actual composition of these nanoparticles both during synthesis and under conditions representative of a chemical reaction.  If one cannot define structure and composition, it is impossible to understand how they contribute to measured reactivity.  To address this, this project will examine an inexpensive approach for controlled synthesis of catalytic alloy nanoparticles.  Samples will be characterized in terms of structural and chemical properties, reactivity, selectivity, and stability in a catalytic reactor.