Frequently Asked Questions about the DREU


The DREU Program

  • Can a student be paired with a mentor at the same university?

    Most of the DREU participants are NOT from the same institution, but we do have some. If there is a particular reason the student would like to stay at that institution and work with a particular faculty member, then both student and faculty should make that clear in the application. They should also make it clear if that is a requirement or a preference.

    Also, an option exists for the research to take place remotely, using collaborative technologies such that the student can remain at his or her home institution with local and remote mentors. This option includes at least two visits by the student to the remote mentor's institution during the summer. If the student is interested in this option, then he or she must indicate that in the application.

  • Do students have to find their own housing?

    It is the responsiblity of the student to find lodging for the summer. In many cases, the mentor will provide information about staying in a dorm on campus or about low-cost summer housing options in the area.

  • What kind of commitment (in hours/week, or even total hours) is required to participate in the DREU?

    The DREU program is meant to be a full-time intensive 10 week research experience for undergraduates.

  • Are there set dates for DREU internships? Do students have to be matched with mentors from universities that have the same academic calendar?

    The program is very flexible and the mentorship dates are scheduled at the mutual convenience of the student and the mentor. We have students and mentors applying from schools that are on the semester system (summer break typically from mid May to mid August) and from schools that are on the quarter system (summer break typically from mid June to mid September). Usually, it is easiest to arrange housing during the mentor's summer break, but some DREU students have started their mentorship before the end of their mentor's spring term or have completed their internship after their mentor's fall term has started. These details are worked out during the matching process and should not prevent anyone from applying for the DREU program.


The DREU Application and Selection Process

Student Application and Selection

  • The objective of DREU is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups entering graduate studies in CS&E. What groups are considered to be underrepresented in computing?

    We follow the official definitions as to who qualifies as being a member of an underrepresented group. Groups that are underrepresented in computing include women, Hispanics, African Americans, and American Indians.

  • Are international students eligible for the DREU?

    Yes, as long as they are pursuing an undergraduate degree at a U.S. or Canadian college or University. However, most of the funds for the DREU program are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents, so the number of non-US student participants will be limited.

  • I am an international student studying in the United States, and I do not have permission to work. Can I still participate in the DREU?

    Probably. Most international students can participate in the DREU via curricular practical training (CPT). This training needs to be approved by your home institution. You should see your international advisor (or someone at your office for international students) to determine if you are eligible and to determine what you need to do to participate in DREU via CPT.

  • Are there any special programs that Canadians may apply to?

    Yes. There is a Canadian DMP for undergraduate women that is managed by the CRA-W. You can find more information about it here. In fact, since most DREU funds are restricted to US citizens and permanent residents, Canadians and international students studying at Canadian institutions are strongly encouraged to consider the Canadian DMP program. Please note that the deadlines and program details of the Canadian DMP and of the DREU are different.

  • Can current graduate students apply for the DREU as mentees?

    That is really not the purpose of this program. There are a number of other internship programs which graduate students can apply for. For example, the National Laboratories and many companies have summer internship programs. You can find more information about them here.

  • Can current seniors, or students who have already graduated with a bachelors degree, apply for the DREU?

    Yes, students can participate after they have graduated. It is true, however, that in most cases we would prefer for students to participate earlier - so that the experience can help them decide if they want to go to graduate school and to help them be more competitive applicants for admission and fellowships if they do apply. Also, since the goals of the program are to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to go to graduate school in computer science and computer engineering, graduating students that are already admitted to graduate school are less likely to be funded than less advanced students who have still not decided if graduate school is for them.

  • What is the best time in their academic program for students to participate in DREU? Can freshman apply?

    The majority of DREU participants are rising seniors or juniors, i.e., they participate in DREU after they have completed their sophomore or junior year. This is a good time for students to participate. However, freshman have successfully participated in the DREU. Hence, all interested students are encouraged to apply.

  • Can male students apply for the DREU?

    Yes. In fact, men from groups underrepresented in computing are strongly encouraged to apply for the DREU. In general, during the selection process, all applicants will be evaluated using the selection criteria described on the DREU Application homepage .

  • Is the DREU open to students in majors outside of CS&CE?

    Yes. During the selection process, all applicants will be evaluated using the DREU selection criteria described on the DREU Application homepage . Thus, since in most cases, CS&CE students are more likely to be better prepared for graduate studies in CS&CE, they would have have an increased chance of being matched with a mentor.

  • What constitutes an unofficial transcript?

    A list of courses, grades and GPA (by semester) would be sufficient. Some universities actually provide their students an electronic unofficial transcript. If yours does not, just create your own listing.

  • Where do I send my official transcript?

    You should send your official transcript to: Prof. Nancy Amato, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, TAMU 3112, College Station, TX 77843-3112. Note: sometimes it takes awhile for your transcript to be processed. In order for your application to be evaluated in a timely manner, you should enter your unofficial transcript into your DREU application.

  • Where do I send my letters of recomendation?

    After you input the contact information, including email addresses, for your letter writers into the application, we will send them email with a special url and directions as to how they can submit their letter into the DREU website. Acceptable formats are plain asci, pdf, or postscript.

    If they cannot submit their letter to the website (stongly preferred), then they should contact us at dreu@cs.tamu.edu or send hard copy (discouraged) to Prof. Nancy Amato, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, TAMU 3112, College Station, TX 77843-3112.

  • If I applied for the DREU Program last year, do I need to resubmit all my information again to apply this year?

    Yes, you will still need to fill out a complete application. The application often undergoes small changes from year to year, and while you may not realize it, there there are probably many changes in your information (e.g., the courses you have taken, possibly your interests, etc).

Mentor Application and Selection

  • Can two (or more) faculty mentors apply together to jointly mentor one or more students? Is there anything special required to submit a joint application?

    Yes, the DREU accepts joint applications for mentors. Each mentor applicant should provide the personal application materials (e.g., address, url, CV, etc.), but only one of the applicants needs to provide the information related to the reseach project and the environment at their institution.

    The application site provides a way to link applications. The applicant that completes the full application should apply first and they will be given an Application Key, which they should then provide to the other applicant(s) who will need to provide it during the application creation process.

  • My college is not a PhD granting institution. Can I apply to be a mentor?

    One objective of the DREU is to immerse the students in an environment similar to the one they would experience in graduate school. Hence, it is important that the mentor's institution have an active summer graduate student population including PhD students and that the mentor's group have graduate students (preferably PhD students) with whom the DREU student could interact.

  • I'm a professor at a PhD granting institution outside the US or Canada. Can I apply to be a mentor?

    No, we're sorry but currently eligible mentors for DREU students should be faculty at PhD granting institutions in the US or Canada.

  • I'm a professor at a PhD granting institution in Canada. Can I apply to be a mentor?

    Yes. But please note that while we do have some unrestricted funds, most of our funding comes from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the intention is to fund students attending US institutions. Also, please note that there is also a Canadian version of the DREU program, the C-DMP, and faculty at Canadian Universities are encouraged to consider applying to it.

  • Why are you asking DREU mentors to provide funds?

    The number of students interested in the DREU program has increased substantially over the last several years and many qualified students have not been selected due to lack of funding. To enable more students to participate, faculty are now encouraged to provide funds to support (partially or fully) students.

  • Does it increase my chances of being selected as a DREU mentor if I can contribute funds to the support my DREU student?

    No. The selection and matching process will be performed in a ``blind'' fashion which does not consider a mentor's financial contribution until after they have been matched with a student.

  • I have some funds that could be used to support a DREU student, but there are some restrictions (e.g., they are REU funds and so the student must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident).

    This is not a problem. The DREU mentor application provides a way for you to indicate any restrictions there are on your funds, and these restrictions will be taken into account when matching you with a DREU student.

  • Does the DREU allow male mentors?

    Yes. All interested faculty are encouraged to apply as mentors, and in fact, male faculty from groups underrepresented in computing are strongly encouraged to apply for the DREU. Moreover, male faculty have been serving as mentors in the DREU (which focused on women) since summer 2004.

    Nonethess, based on the documented benefits of role models with similar gender or from similar demographic groups, it is anticipated that DREU funds will be used to support students matched with mentors from groups underrepresented in computing. Hence, it is anticipated that other mentors will provide full funding for their students' stipends (the program will provide travel support).

  • Can a PhD student apply to be a mentor?

    We really want to have faculty mentors. In many cases, however, a faculty mentor is assisted by graduate students who act as mentors as well. So one way for a PhD to participate would be to get a faculty member to apply as a mentor and then assist with mentoring the student(s).

  • If I applied to be a DREU Mentor last year, do I need to resubmit all my information again to apply this year?

    No, you don't! New this year, mentors can choose to import their application from the previous year or start a new one.

Application Problems

  • Whenever I submit a file, the filename area blanks out as though I hadn't filled it in.

    This is normal. A good way to check to see if your file made it into our database is to click on the view button. A new window will pop up and either your file will be displayed, or a message stating that we do not have your file will appear.


Detailed Questions about the DREU Program (for Participants)

  • Where can I find an overview of the program requirements, payment schedule, information about how to request travel grants, etc?

    On the DREU Procedures and Requirements Summary webpage.

  • How are DREU stipends treated for US income tax purposes?

    Because these awards are not for qualified tuition and related expenses but instead represent compensation for research services rendered as a condition of receiving the grant, they are reportable as gross income, but not as wages. The CRA is not required to withhold any taxes on these stipends and no such withholding shall be done. The CRA is required to issue 1099's or W-2's to award recipients; these are mailed to participants in the spring, typically February. It is the responsibility of each recipient to properly report the award as taxable income on his or her tax return in the year received.

  • Can DREU stipends be paid via direct deposit?

    Yes. In fact, CRA encourages participants to take advantage of direct deposit since it can be difficult to keep mailing addresses for checks up to date with students relocating for the summer. The CRA will send participants information on how to sign up for direct deposit after the participants for the summer are confirmed.

    However, the first stipend payment is typically not paid by direct deposit because it would delay this payment and many students need it, e.g., to pay a deposit on housing for the summer.

  • I am an international student studying in the United States, and I do not have permission to work. What do I need to do to participate in DREU?

    International students typically participate in DREU via curricular practical training (CPT). This training needs to be approved by your home institution. We suggest you see your international advisor (or someone at your office for international students) to complete the appropriate paperwork.

  • Does the DREU program have any funding to help DREU students attend technical conferences with their DREU mentor? What about to make a return visit to their mentor's institution after the program is over?

    Yes.

    The DREU program has limited funding that DREU students can apply for to assist them to attend a technical conference with their mentor and their research group during or after their DREU internship. If it is after the DREU internship, then the travel must be in direct relation to the student's internship, e.g., a conference where a paper the student co-authored as a result of their DREU experience will be presented.

    Students can also apply for funding to make a short duration (a week or so) return visit to work with their mentor to continue work begun during the DREU experience, e.g., for a week or so over winter or spring break.

  • How should the DREU program be acknowledged when research by the DREU student is included in a paper, poster or otherwise publically presented?

    First, this is a great outcome! Please be sure to let the program Co-Directors know about this by emailing dreu [at] cse.tamu.edu.

    We recommend including a mention of the DREU program in the place where research support would normally be acknowledged. A sentence along the lines of the following is suggested:
    "The work of [DREU Student's name] supported in part by the Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU) program, a joint project of the CRA Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC), which is funded in part by the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing program (NSF CNS-0540631)."

  • Does the DREU program have any advice for mentors to help them be more effective mentors for their DREU students?

    Yes, some mentoring tips have been developed specifically for the DREU based on findings of the Learning through Evaluation, Adaptation, and Dissemination (LEAD) Center which performed an evaluation of the CRA-W DMP from 1994-2005.

 
For more information on DREU, please visit the DREU website.
 
If you have any questions about DREU, please consult the DREU FAQ (frequently asked questions), the DREU Procedures and Requirements Summary or contact