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Undergraduate research opportunities have expanded from elite universities in the United States to universities and learning institutions of all ranks and sizes. Research studies have showed some positive outcomes of the research experience for undergraduates (REU), such as enhanced research skills and competencies. However, with the widespread implementation of REU programs across the country, there are some serious and challenging issues, such as fierce competition among students for limited participation opportunities and a overlooking of underrepresented students’ needs. This study reported a nine-week REU Site program in cybersecurity designed for underrepresented students (women and minorities) and participants from institutions with limited research opportunities for the past three years. Results showed that most participants enjoyed the opportunity to work on a real world project and to gain research experience in the REU program. The program helped participants improve various research skills. Recommendations for future REU programs are discussed.

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This document was originally published in Journal of STEM Education by Institute for STEM Education & Research. Copyright restrictions may apply.