Research Experience for Teachers

Each summer, two or more high school or middle school teachers are invited to participate in a MRSEC program “Research Experience 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. MRSEC members visit the high or middle school at monthly intervals, bringing hands–on science activities and showing examples of how materials research affects their lives.

RET participants in

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

In the summer of 2019, the following teachers joined the MRSEC team:


Sydney Paige, Raymond Central Public Schools
worked with Shireen Adenwalla, Physics.

"Our group is in the process of studying the piezoelectricity of glucose. Much of my work involved studying and experimenting with how to prepare amorphous glucose samples for testing.“


Patricia Niemoth, Dorchester High School
worked with Xia Hong, Physics (part of EPSCoR Program)

"Working with Dr. Hong’s research group, under the direction of Hanying Chen, I helped to locate thin pieces of 2D material for use in transistors. Using an optical microscope, I scanned slides to locate single layer graphene and uniform pieces of hexagonal boron nitride. The pieces needed to be a minimum of 10 microns by 10 microns. These layers will be used in making transistors. This has been a wonderful experience, learning so much and working with passionate and caring people."


Wes Sliger, Lefler Middle School
worked with Martin Centurion, Physics.

"The major goal of our group's research was to design and build a portable and low-cost spectrometer to use as a tool for detecting early signs of plant stress due to variations in water, soil, or disease. My undergraduate research partner and I used a laboratory spectrometer to collect baseline reflectance spectra of the leaves of non-stressed rice plants. We then began to understand how spectrometers are designed and applied this knowledge to plan designs for a smartphone spectrometer and a webcam spectrometer.
The smartphone's camera application was used to capture light from both direct sources of light and from the reflections of illuminated objects. Among these images we collected reflections from leaves and colored paper as well as light from incandescent bulbs and fluorescent bulbs. Knowing that the prototype worked to collect diffracted spectra, we designed a 3D printed phone case that would limit overexposure via a baffle inside the blackout tube and through a 5 nm slit at the end of the blackout tube.
We also built a similar spectrometer prototype that used a webcam as the imager. While the smartphone spectrometer was more portable and user-friendly, the webcam spectrometer was more scientifically reliable.
At the very end of my time in the RET program, we were planning to program software that could analyze our collected data and to create a procedure that allowed our spectrometer images to be calibrated."


Emily Schaefer, Lincoln East High School
worked with Rebecca Lai, Chemistry.