The integration of research with Education and Outreach is an important ingredient of our MRSEC’s mission aimed at preparing the future work force of materials scientists and engineers. Our programs provide undergraduate research opportunities, graduate student training, outreach to K-12 students and teachers, and community.
All MRSEC faculty contribute to the Education and Outreach activities described below.
» The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physical Sciences was held on Nov. 6-8, 2014, here at UNL. The theme of this year’s conference was “Nano Rising”(Nov. 2014)
» NanoDays 2014 was held on Apr. 5 at the Westfield Shopping Mall
Research Experience for Faculty and Students at Undergraduate Institutions
Our enhanced Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program recruits two or more faculty/student pairs from regional four-year colleges and universities to engage in summer research with MRSEC faculty, with the goal of providing a research experience which benefit both the participants and the MRSEC projects. It is expected that the professor/student pairs continue to expand on MRSEC-related research at their home institutions during the academic year.
Research Experience for Teachers
Each summer, two or more high school or middle school teachers are invited to participate in a MRSEC program “Research Experiences for Teachers” (RET). Teachers work on a research program during the summer, gaining first-hand experience with cutting-edge research and modern technologies. A summer stipend is provided. The relationships between the teachers and the researchers expand to include the teacher’s students during the following school year.
The goal of MRSEC outreach efforts is to inspire Kindergarten-Grade 12 (K-12) students by the excitement of materials research and to enlarge the pool of students who become future scientists and engineers. Outreach efforts take various forms, such as classroom visits and bringing K-12 students to the University of Nebraska. Visits to schools by MRSEC researchers provide hands-on science activities and demonstrate students the relevance of materials and nanoscience research. Bringing groups of K-12 students to University of Nebraska for tours and demonstrations of the MRSEC laboratories let students to know about scientific concepts and new technologies.
Women in Science Program
Every year, MRSEC faculty members contribute to Women in Science programs sponsored by UNL’s Center for Science, Math and Computer Education. These programs include a 1.5 day-long Women in Science Day, which brings about 100 women high-school students (and their science teachers) from Nebraska and neighboring states to the UNL campus to interact with women scientists and to make them aware of the opportunities that exist for women in science. The primary function of this event is to encourage young women to consider careers in science or mathematics, especially at the University of Nebraska.
Minority Student Recruitment
We actively recruit students from low-income and racial/ethnic groups to participate in MRSEC research. The office of Multicultural Affairs and the NU Office of Graduate Studies assist MRSEC faculty members in arranging trips to institutions with large populations of underrepresented groups. NU has reciprocal exchange agreements with Grambling State University, Alcorn State University, New Mexico Highlands University, and other institutions.
For more information about these programs, please contact:
Prof. Jeffrey Shield
University of Nebraska
Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering
Lincoln, NE 68588-0656
Phone: (402) 472-2378