Promoting Undergraduate Engineering Expertise in Environmental Stewardship

Undergraduate summer engineering research is about developing a personal relationship with a distinguished faculty member, struggling a little before having questions answered for you and — most of all — constantly adapting to make do with what you have. In that, the preparation reflects the profession.

This is exactly what the Barrett Foundation intended when the family nonprofit, led by 1966 UVM graduate Richard Barrett, a successful entrepreneur whose career was boosted by early internship experiences, decided to provide funding for summer research internships for top students in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS).

The Richard Barrett Scholars Program

The program provides prestigious awards to outstanding undergraduate engineers who wish to pursue a specific research project with environmental impacts under the mentorship of a faculty member. The proposed projects must fit within the general research area of the faculty advisor. In this way, undergraduates have the opportunity and resources to pursue independent research as well as work closely with active faculty members who are leading scholars in their fields. Project ideas can be independently generated by the student or selected from research topics that have been described by faculty members.

The program is structured to reflect the application process and the execution of a program that would typically be funded by an external granting agency:

  • Students are required to submit an application describing a specific research project to be completed under the direction of a faculty mentor;
  • Applications are evaluated by a panel of UVM College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences faculty, and the top ranked proposals are elected for funding; and
  • Awardees carry out the research during a semester and a summer, create and present a poster describing their work and their results, and submit a final report detailing the outcomes.

In many instances, results may be suitable for presentation at regional or national conferences and/or publication.

Priority is given to students in their sophomore and junior year.


Priority will be given to the projects listed in the attachment below.  However, other projects that students propose will be considered.

Potential Barrett Scholars Projects 2023 (PDF)

How to Apply

Barrett Research Scholars Program Application Dates:

  • Applications Open: January 13th, 2023
    Applications Due: March 3rd, 2023 @ 5:00pm

To Apply: Please read the Program Guidelines (linked below) for detailed instructions. Applications must be submitted via Handshake at

Previous Barrett Scholars & Projects

Read about the 2020 Richard Barrett Scholars here.


Ena Ibrisimovic ’20  working in Frederic Sansoz lab

Undergraduate researcher and Barrett Scholar Ena Ibrisimovic ’20 worked this summer with Professor Frederic Sansoz, studying the growth of silver nanowires, which are very small (nano-sized) wires made of silver. The wires “come with some amazing properties like high conductivity and flexibility,” she says. “My research is focusing on better controlling their growth so that smooth, unbranched wires can be made, as that is the ideal form/ shape for their applications in electronics. Specifically, they can be applied to already existing technologies, such as solar panel electrodes, to make them more energy efficient.”