Since 2013, the University of Michigan has hosted a semester-long research program for undergraduate students at CERN. The students are selected from a diverse mix of small and large universities across the USA and are embedded as CERN Users in active research programs on experiments at the laboratory. The program is modelled on the highly successful NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, which brings 15 students each year to participate in the CERN Summer Student Program, but serves to address the very large demand for additional opportunities during the academic year. CERN mentors are selected due to their leadership skills on the experiments, as well as their ability to educate and inspire the students. Projects cover a wide range of activities from detector R&D to software development, trigger design, physics analysis and theoretical methodology, and touch nearly all aspects of the research program at CERN.
Each semester, around six students, selected from diverse backgrounds, often under-represented in our field, spend three months working at the laboratory. They live in apartment facilities in neighbouring St. Genis Pouilly, and enjoy periodic excursions to cultural centres located around Europe. Funding, which covers travel, per diem and a stipend, has come from a variety of sources, including the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the University of Michigan Department of Physics, and most recently from the United States Mission to the International Organizations in Geneva. We present the growing success of the program, its strategic interest to the USA, and describe our current efforts to expand and improve its diverse reach to all students across the country.