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VR-REU: Research Experience for Undergraduates in Immersive 3D Visualization

8-Weeks, Paid Research
May 29 – July 21, 2023

The VR-REU program in immersive visualization and virtual/augmented/mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) will involve 10 students per summer directly in multidisciplinary research projects. Participants will be provided training in immersive 3D visualization tools and technologies. The objective of the program is to inspire participating students to consider STEM as a career path and pursue STEM careers at the graduate level, and specifically target participation of women and underrepresented groups. The program will identify research collaborators with immersive visualization needs and assign each student to a REU team. Each REU team will consist of a research mentor and a REU student. The mentoring team includes members not just from CS but also from diverse backgrounds including film and media, journalism and biological sciences.

Participants will gain hands-on experience doing creative VR/AR/MR and 3D Visualization projects. Students will participate in mentored research projects in data driven research areas, including scientific visualization and visual analytics. Some of the planned research projects include: VR for aiding students with learning disabilities, MicroRNA (Ribonucleic Acid) as a regulator for cell lineage plasticity, immersive remote telepresence, sonifying the microbiome, and visualization of deep learning model architecture. This experience will include excursions and social events.

In addition to the exposure to cutting edge research, students selected to participate will receive a travel stipend for one round trip to and from New York City, a housing allowance, a weekly stipend ($600 per week) to cover living expenses and access to research faculty and VR/AR/MR resources to help facilitate their success in the program.


  • Undergraduate students enrolled in a US University or college in good academic standing, with at least one semester remaining in their undergraduate program.
  • Interest in VR/AR/MR and scientific/data visualization from non-technical and technical backgrounds.
  • All majors are encouraged to apply. There is no minimum GPA but applicants are expected to demonstrate a strong interest and passion for research.
  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • Accepted students must complete the 8-weeks program and all requirements, which includes attending seminars, project reports, presentations, project website updates, etc.
  • Women and members of under-represented groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Application Process

Funding is available for 10 undergraduate students in Summer 2023. Application is now closed, as all positions have been filled. There were 162 applications and all applications submitted before the priority application deadline of January 31, 2023 were fully considered. Thank you to all applicants for the 2023 VR-REU program. If you are interested and will still be eligible for the 2024 summer program, please register your interest using the form below. Please note that you will require the following application materials as specified below:

  • Please have a look at the list of research mentors and projects and use this as a guide in completing your application. Your letter of interest, which is requested within the application, should include the top two projects of interest and explain why you are suitable.
  • In addition to the application, you must provide contact information for two faculty/research advisors at your institution, who will be sent a reference form to complete online. We advise that you obtain a recommendation from at least one faculty/research mentor (ideally from your home institution or prior internship).

For the summer of 2023, the VR-REU program will be held in person at CUNY – Hunter College. Selected REU participants will be expected to adhere to CUNY’s COVID-19 guidance and mandates.

This REU Site is sponsored by NSF Grant No. 2050532 and is directed by the PI, Dr Wole Oyekoya.

REU Participants 2023

Sonia Birate
University of Virginia

Filip Trzcinka
CUNY Hunter College

Habin Park
CUNY Hunter Colege

Lamya Serhir
CUNY Baruch College

Lisa Haye
CUNY John Jay College

Richard Erem
University of Connecticut

Richard Yeung
CUNY City College

Sabrina Chow
Cornell University

Samantha Vos
Virginia Wesleyan University

Trinity Suma
Columbia University

VR-REU Symposium: Final presentations will be held (in-person/zoom) on July 20, 2023 (10am – 12pm).

Prior REUs

VR-REU Publications

  1. Aisha Frampton-Clerk and Oyewole Oyekoya. 2022. Investigating the Perceived Realism of the Other User’s Look-Alike Avatars. In 28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST ’22), November29-December 1, 2022, Tsukuba, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 5 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3562939.3565636 – pdf
  2. Zhenchao Xia, Oyewole Oyekoya, and Hao Tang. 2022. Effective Gesture-Based User Interfaces on Mobile Mixed Reality. In Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI ’22), December 1–2, 2022, Online, CA, USA. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3565970.3568189 – pdf
  3. Talia Attar, Oyewole Oyekoya, and Margrethe F. Horlyck-Romanovsky. 2022. Using Virtual Reality Food Environments to Study Individual Food Consumer Behavior in an Urban Food Environment. In 28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST ’22), November 29-December 1, 2022, Tsukuba, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3562939.3565685 – pdf
  4. Diego Rivera. 2022. Visualizing Machine Learning in 3D. In 28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST ’22), November 29-December 1, 2022, Tsukuba, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3562939.3565688 – pdf
  5. Amelia Roth and Daniel Lichtman. 2022. The Community Game Development Toolkit. In 28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST ’22), November 29-December 1, 2022, Tsukuba, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3562939.3565661 – pdf

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