CIAN - Student Programs


Why Apply

The world continues to advance at a faster pace every day, and the internet should keep up. At the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) Engineering Research Center (ERC) we are dedicated to answering the question of creating transformative and innovative technologies to enable an affordable and faster internet for the future. You can be a part of this team during the summer Integrated Optics for Undergraduates (IOU) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Our innovative team, spread across 10 top-tier universities, is offering you the chance to join us for the summer and explore the future as an optics and photonics researcher. With your help, together, we can work towards a more seamlessly connected world.


Learn more about the program and how to apply below

Program Details


Undergraduates of all levels with any interest in optics, electronics, physics, materials science, or engineering. CIAN strongly encourages applications from underrepresented minority groups and women. US Citizenship or permanent residency is required. Minimum GPA 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Because of the time commitment and level of participation required to complete the IOU program, participants must not have any external employment commitments.

Dates & Duration

This is a summer program, but specific dates vary by institution. Here are the participating institutions :

The application deadline for the Integrated Optics for Undergraduates program is February 14, 2014. Acceptance letters will be mailed on April 16, 2014.


Students accepted into the IOU program will receive a stipend of $5,000 for their participation. In addition, funds will be available to support travel as well as on-campus food and housing.


Students are encouraged to reside in on campus housing during the program. Once accepted into the program, details concerning compensation, reimbursements, travel and housing arrangements will be sent to you.

What To Expect

By participating in the Integrated Optics for Undergraduates (IOU) program, you will:

  • Gain research experience in nationally recognized labs
  • Prepare for graduate school
  • Network with peers and research professionals
  • Receive mentoring from top faculty
  • Create potentially publishable work
  • Create material with potential for presenting at a conference
  • Receive a competitive stipend, and restitution for travel and housing

Some students may be eligible to receive academic credit and have the opportunity to attend professional conferences to present their IOU research.
Students who excel may be invited to continue their work the following summer at a different academic institution or as an intern with one of CIAN's Industrial Advisors.
By the end of the summer students are familiar with both the technical skills of performing research within the lab, and the social and cultural skills necessary to succeed in academia.

P rojects are planned according to the student's interests and abilities as well as the real needs of the research group. By the end of the ten-week session, students are expected to complete:

  • » 5-page research summary
  • » Research poster to be presented during a capstone poster session
  • » An oral presentation explaining the mission of their research laboratory and the contribution of their summer project

Click on the right hand side IOU image grid to see examples of past IOU students work

To provide learning experiences that prepare students for the challenges of academic research a variety of career development activities outside the lab will be offered. These activities include technical seminars by graduate students and faculty, GRE-prep classes, career seminars, as well as tutorials and workshops designed to teach students customary formats for communicating scientific research and how to do so most effectively.

About Us

As an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center, CIAN is committed to creating opportunities for cross-disciplinary, hands-on education that will result in a well trained, diverse workforce in the field of photonics and optical communications. The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program entitled Integrated Optics for Undergraduates, is one way CIAN accomplishes these goals.

By facilitating research experiences for undergraduates amongst groups with diverse research capabilities and interests, the REU program provides new, novel learning experiences that can play a key role in encouraging students to continue with graduate work in photonics.

Dr. Allison Huff
CIAN Education Director
IOU Program
1630 East University Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85721

This site is co-funded by the ASSURE program of the Department of Defense in partnership with the National Science Foundation REU Site program under Grant No. EEC-1004331

Online Application:

Research Mentors & Possible Projects