For questions or comments please contact us.

The REU in HCI program was supported by the following:

Center for HCI Logo

Virginia Tech Logo

NSF Logo



Building Interfaces for Tomorrow's Technology:
The Virginia Tech Research Experience for Undergraduates in Human-Computer Interaction

Note: Our program ended in 2011, but many Virginia Tech HCI faculty continue to offer research experiences for undergraduates. Please contact CS and CHCI faculty directly for opportunities. For materials and resources from our program, including videos describing REU experiences and future successes of select participants, visit the A4RC course materials repository, which has graciously agreed to house the materials from our program, or the A4RC YouTube channel. You can also view the REU Symposium Proceedings from each year of the program.

From 2006 to 2011, Virginia Tech's Center for Human-Computer Interaction offered undergraduate students from various colleges and universities the opportunity to spend eight weeks at Virginia Tech, working with our faculty and graduate students on research projects using the state-of-the-art technology and laboratories assembled here. Students selected to participate received housing, meals, and a stipend.

Our program sought to provide students exposure to a multi-disciplinary approach to Human-Computer Interaction research. Emphasis was on innovative HCI research that leverages experiential learning with state-of-the-art technology to find multidisciplinary solutions--producing future researchers prepared for the rigors of graduate school. Students were encouraged to seek publication venues for their research (an important step in applying for graduate school), and funding was made available to support their travel to conferences.

Students were encouraged to consider attending graduate school in HCI or a related field after the program. The REU in HCI program offers the opportunity to participate in a large and vibrant research environment, and to gain the insight and experience that is essential in applying to graduate school. Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have not yet completed their undergraduate education at the time of the program. Others could participate in select program activities through external funding or on a volunteer basis.

As diversity is particularly important (and poorly represented) within the disciplines of HCI and computer science, our program encouraged applications from women and underrepresented minorities. We identified partnerships with schools interested in sending students to take part in our program, and we make regular visits to the partner schools for talks and open houses--current partners include North Carolina A&T State University, Bennett College, Hollins University, and Norfolk State University. As a result, over half of our participants were part of an underrepresented group in technology fields.

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction (CHCI)

The CHCI is an interdisciplinary university center consisting of active HCI researchers from many departments and colleges across the Virginia Tech campus. Currently, there are 12 core faculty members interested in hosting participants as part of the REU in HCI program. Visit the Center for HCI web page for more information about our members, projects, and facilities.

HCI is not just a discipline of computer scientists and industrial engineers--it draws from sociology, psychology, art, architecture, mathematics, and many other disciplines. In fact, few disciplines today do not involve some sort of human-computer interaction. As such, we encourage students from various backgrounds to apply to our program--appropriate faculty members and graduate students will approach you with project ideas while considering your application to ensure that a good match is found for you. You can browse potential projects at the VTURCS project site.

Virginia Tech

Beginning in 1872 with 132 students and two programs of study, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech, has evolved into a comprehensive university of national and international prominence. Located in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech has over 25,000 full-time students, making it the largest in the commonwealth of Virginia. The university's groundbreaking research transforms lives and communities. With annual research expenditures of about $268 million, Virginia Tech is ranked 55th among research universities in the United States. The university, which has more than 100 research centers, also consistently ranks among the top institutions in industry-supported research and near the top 10 in the number of patents issued each year.

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the primary financial sponsor for our REU program, and for many other REUs in computing and other fields. We are grateful for their support under grant numbers 0851774 and 050552732. Thanks also to the Department of Defense and to Virginia Tech's Computer Science Resources Consortium (CSRC) for their support of our program.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF or DoD.