SEM Education Foundation (SEMEF)

Pete Ifju

William Fourney

Michael Sutton

Jon Rogers

About the Foundation

A primary responsibility of the SEM Education Foundation is to provide financial support for a variety of educational activities important to the development of the field of experimental mechanics. Because the SEMEF’s resources are limited, it is imperative that funds be used as efficiently as possible.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the SEM Education Foundation, please click the "Donate" button below. SEMEF welcomes and thanks you for your generous support in giving. All donations received will be matched, up to $10,000, by SEM.




Regional graduate student symposia

Regional graduate student symposia are a growing area of focused funding by SEMEF. Regional symposia date back to the 1970s and were kicked-off by Chuck Taylor with one of the first being held in the southeast region. The goal is to promote symposia in five US regions including (NW, NE, SW, SE, MW). SEMEF is open to sponsoring regions across the globe. In 2018, SEMEF supported a symposia in the UK. Universities located near each other are encouraged to organize graduate conferences and to apply to SEMEF for sponsorship support of up to $1,500 per symposium. These symposia emphasize graduate students, but undergraduates are also invited to participate. Going forward, each symposia host is encouraged to submit a list of symposia presenters to SEM headquarters so we can send a follow-up email to the presenters inviting them to join SEM with one year of free student membership.
See the map below. The dots highlight the universities per region that have hosted a symposium to date.

Your ideas and energy are needed for SEM to continue to progress. Talk to the individual members at your symposium to learn more. As mechanicians, you are ambassadors to the rest of the community. Let your colleagues know about SEM. You will be surprised to know that many may already be members. Finally, remember that SEM is the “Friendly Society”. Take the time to socialize, especially with students like yourselves!

2020 Student Symposia

Picture of Student Symposia Midwest 2020


Hosted by Sarah Bentil at Iowa State University | March 7-8, 2020
With participants from Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech University, Northwestern University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, University of Michigan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Iowa and University of Minnesota.


Hosted by Vijaya Chalivendra at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Postponned until further notice!
With participants from WPI, UMASS Amherst, UMASS Lowell, URI, University of Connecticut, Northeastern University and UMASS Dartmouth.


Hosted by Shuman Xia at Georgia Institute of Technology | May 9-10, 2020
With participants from Georgia Tech, University of Florida, Clemson University, North Carolina State University, Auburn University, University of South Carolina, and University of Alabama.

Student Symposia Proposal Guidelines

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by the number of students benefited, and clarity of presentation. Requests for SEMEF funds for activities other than Graduate Student Conferences need not follow this format. However, they should be submitted before the Nov. 1st or May 15th deadlines so that they can be acted upon promptly.

All Proposals will include each item below:

  • Approximate dates of the activities
  • An outline of the proposed program
  • Statement about the impact of the activity on SEMEF’s goals
  • A budget, including the amount requested from SEMEF
  • Plans for a follow-up report

SEMEF will NOT provide, or match funds for:

  • Charges for the use of university classrooms or meeting rooms
  • Funds for prizes at graduate symposia. (Where cooperation and friendship are the key words, and not competition. The SEMEF does provide funds for prizes at the Annual Student Paper Competition sponsored by the SEM Education Committee at the annual spring meeting.)

The SEMEF will endeavor to provide funds for up to a maximum of $1,500 per event
Funding may include Meals (breakfast, lunches, and dinners), coffee breaks, other (TBD).


Student Symposia Hosts

Download the PowerPoint slides to use during the introduction of your simposia.

Download PPTX


Send Proposals or request information

SEMEF, c/o Director,
7 School Street, Bethel, CT 06801, (203) 790-6373