MNTL Hilights report web (Apr. 2016) - Page 33

STEM TEACHERS ENHANCE THEIR INSTRUCTION THROUGH RESEARCH AT MNTL During the last two summers, 16 middle school, high school, and community college STEM faculty from across the nation conducted cutting-edge research in nanotechnology through the NSF-funded nano@Illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at MNTL. The goal of RET is to provide the teachers with hands-on experience and nanotechnology knowledge, which they can use to enhance their classroom instruction and even develop a curriculum module. “I teach in a very small school with limited resources, so one of the best things that I can do is have experiences and then bring them back to the classroom,” said Villa Grove, IL, biology teacher Aubrey Wachtel, who worked in Professor Andrew Smith’s lab on the quantitative analysis of cellular uptake of quantum dots. Added fellow 2014 participant Terry Koker: ““My work in Dr. Goddard’s lab on photoelectrochemical etching of silicon was one of the most rewarding educational and scientific experiences of my career.” In addition to Smith and Goddard, faculty participants included Aleksei Aksimentiev (Physics), Can Bayram (ECE), Paul Braun (MatSci), Songbin Gong (ECE), Princess Imoukhuede (BioE), Xiuling Li (ECE), Nadya Mason (Physics), Umberto Ravaioli (ECE), Steve Sligar (BioChem), and Dan Wasserman (ECE). UNDERGRADUATES GAIN VALUABLE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE Twenty-six undergraduate students from across the nation conducted 10-week research projects through CNST’s NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program and the NSF-funded Science and Technology Center for Emergent Behaviors of Integrated Cellular Systems (EBICS) at MNTL. In addition to introducing the students to research, the REU program trains them in critical elements of leadership, ethics, teamwork, mentoring, and outreach, and it improves their ability to communicate their research results to professional and lay audiences. “This REU gave me the opportunity to develop professional skills, improve my research writing, and synthesize devices all in one summer,” noted 2014 student Mohammad Jaber. The following faculty served as mentors to the undergraduate students: Aleksei Aksimentiev (Physics), Ryan Bailey (Chem), Rashid Bashir (BioE), Rohit Bhargava (BioE), Paul Braun (MatSci), Brian Cunningham (ECE), Lynford Goddard (ECE), Brendan Harley (Chem & Biomolecular Engr), Princess Imoukhuede (BioE), Hyunjoon Kong (Chem & Biomolecular Engr), Mary Kraft (Chemistry), Xiuling Li (ECE), Yi Lu (Chemistry), Catherine Murphy (Chemistry), Sungwoo Nam (MechSci & Engr), Gabriel Popescu (ECE), Taher Saif (MechSci & Engr), Sameh Tawfick (MechSci & Engr), and Dan Wasserman (ECE). MNTL HIGHLIGHTS REPORT 33