Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) 2007 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Summer Internship Program

Undergraduate students are invited to explore new directions in earthquake studies through the National Science Foundation sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

The three Earthquake Engineering Research Centers--the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (, the Mid-America Earthquake Center (, and the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research ( each sponsor students from universities and four-year colleges to spend ten weeks in the summer conducting individual research projects that contribute to ongoing research programs of the centers.

What you will gain –

  • - Hands-on research experience
  • - Participation in a challenging but supportive interdisciplinary research team environment
  • - Exposure to the latest methodologies in earthquake studies
  • - Occasion to work with established researchers
  • - Improved observation and communication skills
  • - Awareness of the diversity of earthquake research
  • - Interaction with graduate students who will serve as mentors
  • - Opportunity to judge whether a career in research is right for you


The PEER REU program offers unique opportunities for outstanding undergraduate students to participate in state-of-the-art research. REU participants are paired with a faculty advisor and the student joins the faculty member’s research team (consisting of faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate research assistants, and other undergraduate students). Interns are required to work 400 hours (10 weeks) with a faculty mentor on a PEER research project that is directly related to the PEER mission of Performance- Based Earthquake Engineering between May 15 and September 15. This four-month period allows for flexibility in start and end dates. Specific work schedules are arranged between the student and the faculty mentor.

Pending availability of funding, there are up to seven Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) positions available for 2007.

Each participant has a predetermined individual research project, chosen during the selection process, which contributes to the goals of an existing PEER research project (see Selecting a Project to pick your top three project choices).

Appropriate faculty supervision will be provided throughout the summer, and students will be taught how to conduct independent research and how to participate effectively as a member of a research team.


The PEER REU program is is targeted to upper-division students who have completed junior-level courses in engineering or a related field. PEER will consider applicants from other grade levels. The program is intended to provide research opportunities for undergraduates who have shown an interest in earthquake engineering, demonstrated a high level of academic performance (generally GPA = 3.0 or above), and whose presence would enhance the diversity of PEER. Although PEER seeks racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, California law prohibits preferential treatment of individuals or groups on the basis of race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin. Consequently, selection of award recipients is not based on these criteria.

Funding for the REU program comes directly from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a university or college in the United States or its possessions.

Applicants who attend a PEER core or affiliate university must intern somewhere other than their home institution.

Eligible students can also apply to more than one earthquake center. (Just indicate your preference on the application form.)


Interns will receive a $6,000 stipend (intended to cover summer housing and travel expenses).


The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) operates programs aimed at cost-effective reduction of earthquake losses, with emphasis in the following areas: Understanding and mitigating the potential for collapse in older building construction so that major life losses can be avoided; Developing performance-based approaches for design of buildings and transportation and utility lifelines to provide life-safety protection for all construction, and protection of economic and functional objectives for essential facilities and operations.

PEER is headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley and is comprised of the following core institutions:

  • - University of California, Berkeley
  • - California Institute of Technology
  • - Stanford University
  • - University of California, Davis
  • - University of California, Irvine
  • - University of California, Los Angeles
  • - University of California, San Diego
  • - University of Southern California
  • - University of Washington

PEER links researchers in earth sciences, engineering seismology, engineering, architecture, economics, and public policy to bridge gaps in knowledge so that new technologies can be developed and implemented to achieve the diverse life-safety, economic, and functional requirements of owners and society. PEER’s mission is to develop and disseminate technology for design and construction of buildings and infrastructure to meet those diverse seismic performance objectives.

Now in its tenth year, PEER research programs are well established. The numerous research projects offer a wide array of opportunities for interested undergraduates wishing to explore various aspects of earthquake engineering.


PEER REU students are required to attend a one-day Communication Skills Workshop at the University of California, San Diego in mid-summer and give a PowerPoint presentation at the Tri-Center REU Earthquake Engineering Symposium for Young Researchers, to be held in early August (location to be determined). PEER will pay for the costs of travel, lodging, and meals to attend the workshop and symposium. Students will compile technical and anecdotal information throughout the summer and submit a final report by October 1, 2007.


A current list of PEER research projects can be found at the Funded Project Archive page. Select your top three preferences, and include the information in your application essay. (See application form for directions).


Applications by women and individuals who are from underrepresented groups are encouraged, although all qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. Internships will be awarded based on applicants' eligibility (having social, educational or economic backgrounds that would add to the diversity of PEER) and merit (based on academic preparation and potential). The following are examples of how a student could enhance PEER’s diversity.

  • - Student has unique skills, talents, or experiences that would be of benefit to others and would enhance the diversity of the program or campus.
  • - Student has successfully overcome significant educational, social, or economic disadvantage or adversity in a way that would enable him or her to contribute to the campus community in a manner that enhances campus diversity.

Examples of experiences that indicate the student has had to overcome disadvantage or adversity include:

  • - Was educated in a school or college with limited facilities and educational opportunities.
  • - Had a low family income or has had to work full time in high school or as an undergraduate to support family and/or to pay for college.
  • - Was the first member of immediate family to attend college.
  • - Overcame other social or economic barriers to pursue an education.

The following application materials must be received in order to be considered for the program.

  1. Completed application form (download 2007 Internship Application [Excel format]. or [PDF format]. (Note: The Application Form and Bio/Statement of Purpose can be submitted electronically.) Be sure to save the file with your last name in the filename (ie., Larson_appl_2007.xls, or Larson_appl_2007.pdf).
  2. Bio/Statement of Purpose (see application form for details)

DEADLINE: The application deadline is April 1; however, application review will begin in February and continue on a rolling basis until all internship awards have been given out. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply early.

PEER Summer Internship Program
University of California, San Diego
Department of Structural Engineering
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0085
La Jolla, CA 92093-0085
(858) 822-1344 Phone
(858) 822-2260 FAX