Professor Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruque feels a responsibility to mentor undergraduates in his lab. He assigns each undergraduate to one of his graduate students and incorporates them fully into his research projects. As much as anything, Professor Al Faruque looks for students who are passionate about their research interests. He has seen students who might have struggled with their GPA blossom when exposed to the research environment. UROP is pleased to recognize Professor Al Faruque for his dedication to the undergraduate research he mentors.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

Since I joined UCI in 2012, I have mentored UCI undergraduate students in my lab. Many of my undergraduate students already co-authored high-impact publications with me in the last several years. The inclusion of undergraduate students in my lab initially started from my responsibility towards the undergraduate students. However, in the last several years, I have seen how much value the undergraduate students can bring to the challenging research with my Ph.D. students when they are working together.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

For me, the most important qualities in an undergraduate student are the passion for doing something new and the interest to take new challenges. I teach a Junior class in Spring and always encourage students to join my lab during that summer and in their senior year.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

All my undergraduate student researchers are working with my Ph.D. students and collaborating on their research. I always meet both my graduate students and undergraduate students together so the undergraduates feel ownership of their work and the project.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

I can share an experience here. I recently met one of my colleagues from UCLA and he mentioned two of my undergraduate student researchers. Both of them applied to UCLA and Stanford University for their Ph.D.s. The UCLA professor was very impressed by the level of research engagement those students had experienced in my lab. I typically create a project module (mostly implementation-oriented) for undergraduate students so that they can finish the part of the project during their research time. Most of these modules developed by the undergraduates are then used further in my research.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

I was able to recruit very good graduate students for my lab from the cohort of undergraduate students I was supervising.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

Talk to the professors and get engaged in their research as early as possible during your undergraduate studies. Sometimes, I have seen that students are shy to talk to professors if their GPA is low. I have seen very good undergraduate researchers with lower GPAs who eventually did great in their senior year and ended up going for a Ph.D.

Research Interests: Professor Al Faruque’s current research is focused on system-level design of embedded systems and Cyber-Physical-Systems (CPS) with special interests on CPS design automation, model-based design, multi-core systems, and CPS security.

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '19 Mohammad Abdullah Al Faruque
Nov. '19 Nadia Chernyak
Oct. '19 Quoc-Viet Dang
Sep. '19 Maura Allaire
Aug. '19 Alyson K. Zalta
Jul. '19 Geoffrey W. Abbott
Jun. '19 Jacob P. Avery
May. '19 Natascha Trellinger Buswell
Apr. '19 Jenny Yang
Mar. '19 Susanne M. Jaeggi
Feb. '19 Zeba Wunderlich
Jan. '19 Miriam Bender