Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Every year, the ALERT center selects science or engineering undergraduate students to work at ALERT laboratories on research projects related to the emerging technology of explosives detection. These REU students have the opportunity to participate in ALERT research at Northeastern University in Boston for 10 weeks in one of the four ALERT research thrusts:

  • Thrust 1 – Characterization & Elimination of Illicit Explosives
  • Thrust 2 – Trace & Vapor Sensors
  • Thrust 3 – Bulk Sensors & Sensor Systems
  • Thrust 4 – Video Analytics and Signature Analysis

Students accepted to the program receive a $4500 stipend and apartment-style housing is provided. For questions, please contact Melanie Smith at

2014 REU Program

The summer program, which ran this summer for 10-weeks from June 2nd – August 8th , provided students with full-time work experience on ALERT research, and offered meetings and activities geared to enhance professional development, such as Poster Building and Presentation Skills, Research Ethics, Engineering Leadership, and Lab Safety.  A few of the students working at NEU began their involvement in ALERT research through the ALERT Scholars program, which provides freshmen undergraduates an introduction and gateway to engineering research on campus during the spring semester.

The research projects from the 2014 program were:

Distinguishing Dielectric from Metal Anomalies on a Body Surrogate Using Near Field Millimeter Wave Imaging
Thurston Brevett
Northeastern University
Advisor: Prof. Carey Rappaport

Characterization and Identification of α and β-RDX Polymorphs on Stainless Steel Surfaces
Amanda Figueroa
University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
Advisor: Prof. Samuel Hernandez

Video Analytics
Yeehin Li
Northeastern University
Advisor: Richard Moore

3D FDFD Modeling of Inhomogeneous Biological Tissue for Detection Surgically Implanted Explosives
Matthew Tivnan
Northeastern University
Advisor: Prof. Carey Rappaport

Fusion Imaging for Airport Security: Structured Light, X-ray Backscatter and Millimeter Wave
Abecco J. Rwakabuba
Middlesex Community College
Advisor: Prof. Carey Rappaport

The projects offered for the 2013 program can be found at: ALERT 2013 REU RESEARCH PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS

Making a real difference

Students participating in the REU program work on government and industry sponsored projects. Many see their work put to use in the field.

Innovation Fast Track

EXCLUSIVE TO CENTER MEMBERS: Log in to explore your Innovation Fast Track, an online portal that gives you one-stop access to center researchers, funding opportunities, exclusive events and more.

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Student Central

Students, get connected with Industry Partners, find out about research and volunteer opportunities within ALERT, or get advice on how to best showcase your work at Student Central.

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The Partnership

ALERT is led by Northeastern University (NEU) and includes three key academic strategic partners: Boston University, Purdue University, and University of Rhode Island (URI).

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