Students in undergraduate and master’s degree engineering programs are faced with a big decision for what to do after graduation: continue their education with a doctoral degree or start their careers in industry.

Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering developed the Summer Research Initiative, or SURI, program to help shed some light on what life is like for a doctoral student. During the program, sponsored by technology companies Intel and Texas Instruments, participants assist a faculty mentor with research, network with industry engineers, attend lectures from professionals in engineering and take part in social events with other SURI participants.

Started in 2019 by the Fulton Schools office of Outreach and Recruitment, SURI is coordinated by engineering Academic and Student Affairs Associate Director Kae Sawyer. The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from around the world and primarily geared toward those considering doctoral degree studies, and students aren’t limited to research related to their majors.

“SURI differs from typical Research Experiences for Undergraduates sites funded by the National Science Foundation in that the research is not limited to a single project or topic,” says Patrick Phelan, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate dean of graduate programs in the Fulton Schools. “Rather, any ASU engineering faculty member willing to engage with students can offer a research project.”

In 2023, SURI saw 41 students participate on campus, the most since the program started, and eight participate online.

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