Engineering is a people-oriented profession that helps improve quality of life. This often gets lost in college engineering education, especially in the beginning of the college experience. Project-based courses and other active learning-based activities improve retention and student satisfaction in engineering programs across the country. With a diverse team of faculty members representing the country’s finest institutions combined with global industrial leaders, POETS is in a unique position to offer a suite of hands on learning experiences for all levels of undergraduate students that demonstrate the:

  • Immediate impact that engineers have on our society.
  • Technical challenges that engineers face.

Using application-based case studies on machines ranging from power tools to mining vehicles, undergraduates at POETS institutions will understand societal relevance of the challenges that POETS addresses and become budding leaders in systems level thinking.


POETS offers several avenues for students to become involved in project-based learning as well as interdisciplinary experiences:

First-year engineering design course

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

Undergraduate research during the school year

Interdisciplinary senior design experience

Undergraduate Education News

Posted October 27, 2018


POETS has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) REU Site grant. This grant will enable POETS to expand the number of undergraduate students participating in summer research. The overall goals of the POETS REU Site grant is to help guide students towards a meaningful future in advanced STEM careers through empowerment and education. It is unique because it offers opportunities for hands-on research experiences to a diverse set of undergraduate students, emphasizing the inclusion of individuals from underrepresented and/or minority groups. This program will be led by Joe Muskin and Jessica Perez, picture above. To learn more see: https://mechanical.illinois.edu/news/poets-center-receives-nsf-reu-grant


Posted: September 2, 2018


POETS’ 2017 REU program had one undergraduate student at each of the four POETS universities: Illinois, Arkansas, Howard, and Stanford. Because students were placed at four different institutions, they each had unique opportunities as POETS took advantage of the various offerings at each of the schools. Illinois REU student Adam Castaneda said that the overall experience impacted his future career paths. [It] “definitely is making me more seriously consider grad school. Prior to the whole research opportunity, I kind of had it on my mind, but not necessarily something that I wanted to do immediately. I knew I had the option, but I was more in the mindset of, ‘I only have a year left; I can graduate and find myself a nice job!’ But I found myself really enjoying research, and working through the entire experience makes me realize that I think I can find myself going even for a PhD.” Maybe even at Illinois. Read more at https://www.istem.illinois.edu/news/poets.reu.17.html