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Undergraduate Research Program

  • Known as the Ambassador Program
  • Students must be Enrolled During the Fall and/or Spring
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Positions Available for Outreach Support and Research
  • Compensation Ranges Between $10/hr and $13/hr depending on experience

Lab space

Program Overview

To encourage involvement at all levels of experience at CURENT, the education team has organized different roles that sophomores, juniors, and seniors can participate in center activities.  The most common roles are:

  • Attending Professional Development Opportunities
  • Participating in Education Outreach
  • Membership in the Student Leadership Council
  • Conducting Power Engineering Research

The Ambassador Program developed as a combination of these four areas as past undergraduate researchers experessed the value these activities helped them in their career paths, which often included the enrollment into the BS/MS Program under the supervision of their undergraduate research faculty advisor.


Professional Development

CURENT offers annually seminars open to all undergraduate Ambassadors related to professional and technical skills.  The most common exposure to graduate research is through the SLC Seminars - ECE496 (Terms Terms) and ECE691 (Fall & Spring Terms).  Additional professional development is often offered through our Ambassador Email list.  Past events include Labview Training and meetings with Industry Guests.


K-12 Education Outreach

Promotion of engineering careers and power engineering is offered throughout the year.  Undergraduates are asked to participate in interview panels, assist in lab tours, visit classrooms, and help with afterschool programs.  The afterschool programs is one of our largest and most popular programs for the K-12 students and college students.  Each year, over a 1,000 family members are reached by these 2-3 hour "Engineering Nights".


Student Leadership Council

Undergraduates have always played a part in the Student Leadership Council (SLC) but since 2014, the Undergraduates have held leadership positions in the organization.  The SLC carries out a range of functions at the research center but one of their primary roles is to lead new initiatives and provide continued communication/promotion betwen all the research groups and campuses.



Our Center offers undergraduate UTK students the chance to perform in-depth research with CURENT faculty and graduate students throughout the academic year. Students will be able to work on research in their chosen fields of interest. Some of the areas of study include:

  • power systems
  • power electronics and drives
  • alternative energy sources
  • energy storage
  • control and communication
  • power transmission
  • large data analytics and visualization
  • distributed and collaborative visualization
  • power market structures
  • fault resiliency through robust collaboration among local controllers

Students will customize their own research based on personal interests by working closely with faculty and graduate students.

The program will culminate with a poster presentation to faculty, graduate students and fellow researchers to highlight each individual's work.

Program Details:

Participants in the academic year REU program will dedicate 10 hours each week to research. Each student will work with his or her faculty advisor to determine a set schedule for the semester.

To apply to the REU Academic Year Program, you must:

  • Be a sophomore, junior, or non-graduating senior student at an accredited college or university in the United States.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident
  • Be able to devote at least 10 hours per week to the program.
  • Have a professional demeanor and awareness in an academic laboratory setting.
  • Attend all required events, seminars, lectures, etc.


The Center is committed to promoting diversity within science and engineering. We especially encourage women, students from underrepresented groups (African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander), and students with disabilities.

Application Requirements:

To apply for CURENT's Academic Year REU program, you will need to submit:

  • Online application
  • Unofficial college transcript