Summer Programs Share Nanoscale Research
Roger D. Kirby
Visiting school teachers, undergraduate students and their professors get a macroscale immersion in nanoscale research through summer programs at Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at the University of Nebraska (NU). The Center fosters collaboration among NU physicists, chemists and engineers to advance nanomaterials research. Education and outreach is a vital part of the Center’s mission.
Each summer, the 14 MRSEC faculty members invite middle and high school teachers, and student-professor teams from four-year colleges to participate in nanomaterials research. “We’re inviting folks to gain some new skills, learn some new things and to take what they learn here back home to disseminate to their students, some of whom will become scientists or engineers,” explained Roger Kirby, MRSEC Associate Director, who heads the summer outreach programs. “We’re building for the future.”
MRSEC’s summer programs give participants the chance to work closely with NU scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research in nanomagnetics. In summer 2007, five middle- and high-school teachers and seven students and their professors from smaller colleges joined our MRSEC research effort. More than half the teacher and professor participants were women or ethnic minorities. Visiting summer participants work on a variety of nanomaterials research projects, including investigating ferroelectric properties, x-ray diffraction, biomedical applications of functionalized nanomagnetic clusters, and making nanoscale clusters of atoms, which can be used in various modern technologies, such as hard disk drives. Organizers encourage the participating teachers to return to their classrooms and inspire young men and women to consider careers in materials science.
These programs are supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Materials Research, Materials Research Science and Engineering Program, Grant 0213808.
MRSEC faculty Steve Ducharme (center) with visiting student-professor team, Stella Stephens and Horacio Vasquez, University of Texas-Pan American.
Highlight InfoDate: March 2008