Photo of RIDE REU Students from Summer 2023

RIDE REU Students in Summer 2023

About RIDE

Improving upon inequities and disparities in transportation that disproportionately harm underserved and underrepresented groups is of paramount importance. In addition to these disparities, it has been well documented that mobility leads to equity - ensuring a reliable, affordable, and consistent form of transportation leads to greater employment, higher education, quality health care and food, social and civic engagement, and participation in everyday activities.

The Research for Inclusivity and Driving Equity (RIDE) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site will provide undergraduate students an immersive and interdisciplinary experience in community engaged research focused on improving the transportation experience for underserved and underrepresented communities. REU students will participate in research in civil engineering, health policy, industrial engineering, information management, legal studies, psychology, and regional planning.

The RIDE REU will run from June - August 2024.

Faculty and PhD Student Mentors

Program Details

In addition to learning and growing as a researcher, you will also:
  • Receive a stipend for 9 weeks
  • Have UMass housing
  • Receive travel to and from UMass
  • Go on field trips
  • Attend professional development seminars
  • Field Trips

    Students will visit and learn more about places such as:
  • Pioneer Valley Transportation Authority
  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation
  • Volpe National Transportation Center
  • Professional Development Seminars

    Seminars will include topics such as how to:
  • Conduct ethical research
  • Write a resume
  • Create a professional social media profile
  • Apply to graduate school
  • Craft and present a poster

  • Eligibility Details

    You must be:
  • A US Citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • An incoming freshman through junior enrolled at a college, university, or community college for Fall 2023 semester

  • There are no minimum GPA requirements and prior research experience is not required. As long as you have a passion and eagerness for doing research, please apply!

    The priority application due date is February 15, 2024. Applications will open soon!

    Summer 2024 Projects -- COMING SOON!

    Application Information

    Below are the required components of the application:



    One of the most frequent pieces of advice for writing an essay is “show don’t tell”, but with personal statements you should show AND tell. The people reading your application will be busy, overwhelmed, and will have 100 other applications to read, so you want to make it easy for them to see what traits make you shine. This means explicitly use those trait words in your text, and back it up with proof. Example-“After a week of my experiment failing, I knew I needed to develop a creative solution. So I drew from my experience with materials research to employ an unusual polymer that fixed the errors I was getting.” or “I independently developed a protocol to collect the data.” The show part is important too. Don’t just say “I am creative and independent” without evidence.

    More advice on what to do and what not to do
  • Many people write about childhood experiences as motivation. You can do this, but be brief when referencing them -- use them as a jumping off point to talk about who you are/what motivates you now.
  • This personal statement is the time for YOU to shine. This is not the time to write long acknowledgements of all the wonderful people who have helped you.
  • Don’t be modest. The people reading your application will not know how awesome your work is if you don’t show them. If you have trouble showing off your accomplishments, rope in a friend who will help edit your draft so that it sings your praises.
  • Don’t just rewrite your resume.
  • Don’t forget to edit for spelling, grammar, clarity, and flow.
  • It is always useful to have at least one other person (ideally a graduate student or professor) read your statement. It can be helpful to get feedback at multiple stages as you write more drafts. While friends and parents may not be as knowledgeable about the exact format for academic personal statements they can still offer great advice on grammar, persuasiveness, clarity, etc.



  • Align your experiences and skills to the project you are applying to.
  • For a work/experience item focus on accomplishments rather than job duties whenever possible.
  • Identify your strengths and emphasize them on your resume (e.g., by creating an additional section to highlight your strengths).
  • Focus on clarity – don’t try to take up space. A short resume is normal for undergraduates.
  • Ask others to proofread your CV/resume!
  • Recommendation Letter

    The REU application process requires you to provide the name and contact information for your recommenders as part of the online application. We will request the recommendation letter.


    What is a recommendation letter?

    A recommendation letter is a letter written by someone who has taught or supervised you in an educational setting. It provides detailed information about your characteristics, accomplishments, experience, and preparedness for entering the RIDE REU program. This is done by describing what you have done in your educational career thus far, as well as describing your potential to succeed.

    Who should you choose to write your letters?

    We highly recommend choosing letter writers who know you well and are able to describe your strengths. Ideally, you want letter writers who are tenured or tenure-track professors who can speak to your academic and/or research abilities. If you conducted research that was mostly overseen by a graduate student or postdoc, you can ask them to provide text/details for a letter to the overseeing professor who will then write your letter of recommendation. Avoid letters from friends or family members.

    What should be included in a recommendation letter?

    The letter should begin by describing the relationship between you and the letter writer. For example, is this person your former professor or someone who supervised you in a research setting? It can be helpful to explain why the letter writer feels qualified to write a letter for the applicant. The middle paragraph(s) should describe examples of your experience, characteristics, and accomplishments that will make you successful in our RIDE REU program. The letter should explain why the applicant is qualified and what makes them likely to be successful. The letter should close with an offer for the writer to answer further questions or provide more information if needed and an affirmation of the writer’s recommendation for you to be in the RIDE REU program.

    How do I ask for a recommendation letter?

    Give your letter writers at least a month to write your letter. When asking for a letter of recommendation, make their lives easier by providing content and direction. What qualities are you trying to highlight in your application? Ask them to speak to those qualities. Also send the professor your resume. They may interact with a lot of students and may not remember exactly what you did or accomplished. Make it easier for them by highlighting any major accomplishments you want them to include. Remember, writing letters of recommendation is part of their job, so don’t feel bad asking for one.


    Unofficial transcripts are fine. We only want to see what classes you have taken. We ARE NOT focused on your GPA and there is no minimum GPA.

    Contact Us

    Amherst, MA

    Phone: 413-545-2165

    Email: scroberts@umass.edu

    The priority application due date is February 15, 2024. Recommendation letters are due on March 1, 2024.