Inaugural Hub & Spoke REU Program: Advancing Sustainable Composite Materials with Maine Forests

For the first time this summer, the ASCC is pleased to provide a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) for 12 students through our collaborative Hub & Spoke partnership with The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). We were also able to provide an opportunity for two more students to join our 2023 program via additional funds from the National Science Foundation.

The goal of this REU program is to provide students with one-on-one mentorship in research to develop and utilize new knowledge that addresses the development of sustainable composite materials from Maine forests in an ethical manner. The students will be researching a variety of subjects such as feedstock production and modification, sustainable material development & characterization, large-scale additive manufacturing (3D printing), new product development, and techno-economic & life cycle analyses.

All 14 students spent their welcome week at ORNL in Knoxville, TN, then eight of the students came to The University of Maine at the beginning of June, where they will complete their program over the next nine weeks. The remaining six students will work primarily at ORNL and then join the students at UMaine to display their results in a summary presentation during the first week of August, and the final week of the program.

This is the inaugural cohort of the Hub & Spoke REU program, which was exceptionally competitive with over 50 applicants for 12 positions. 

This year, we boast a significant selection of underrepresented populations in STEM (in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race) amongst the REU class: 71% (10) female; 14% (2) Hispanic or Latino; and 14% (2) Asian, 14% (2) American Indian or Alaska Native, and 7% (1) Black or African American. These students come from prestigious universities all over the country including but not limited to:  Johns Hopkins University, Auburn University, Purdue University, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Michigan, and the University of Maine. The ASCC is proud to have such a diverse community of students in this inaugural year. 

Contact: Amy Blanchard,