The Pre-College Education program within the NASCENT Engineering Research Center is hosting a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. Each summer, science teachers from partner schools will participate in a 7 week program where they work alongside faculty and graduate students, participating in high-level research projects within the field of nanomanufacturing.  In addition to the research component, RET staff and faculty will guide teachers to develop and teach engineering-based lessons that connect current research in engineering to K-12 science and mathematics curricula in the classroom, and promote engineering as an exciting career that allows K-12 students to apply their math and science education to real-world problems.

The long-term goals of our RET program are to motivate and improve middle/high school student-learning in engineering and establish a collaborative partnership between our selected schools and NASCENT engineering faculty through inquiry-based experiences in nanomanufacturing.

Teachers receive a stipend (~$5600) for their participation and a supply allowance (~$1500) to purchase classroom equipment/supplies that support their engineering-based lesson.

NASCENT RET Program Goals

  • To provide middle school and high school teachers with a background and first-hand experience in the design, methods, and analysis of research associated with nanomanufacturing.
  • To reinforce the value of incorporating scientific inquiry in the context of their school STEM curricula.
  • To provide teachers with the tools, experiences, and ongoing relationships with career scientists and with fellow teachers that will enable them to share with their students the latest developments in STEM fields and inspire their students with a desire to learn more about science and engineering and their related career paths.

Major Activities

  • Teachers will begin the program with a three-day orientation covering theory and techniques associated with the research they will be conducting during the internship.
  • Teachers will be placed in research labs under the guidance of a faculty mentor where they will be expected to work on an independent research project for approximately 30 hours per week for six weeks following the training workshop.
  • Teachers will connect their experiences to current learning theory and will develop classroom materials based on the summer research experience that they can use in their classrooms and can be disseminated publicly.
  • Teachers will interact with each other through informal meetings at least once a week to allow dialogue between teachers, faculty, and staff with the goal of establishing collaborative and ongoing relationships.
  • Weekly educational seminars as well as research discussions will be built into the program schedule.
  • Follow-up activities include faculty and graduate student visits to teachers’ schools where they can co-lead an activity or give a presentation to the students.

Program Highlights

  • Stipend: $800/week for seven weeks
  • Optional participation for two summers
  • Classroom supplies allowance to incorporate science experience into classroom and curriculum: $1500

Representative Program Schedule

June-AugustMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday
Nano/Research BootcampOrientation Day 1:
*NASCENT ERC Overview
*Nanotechnology Seminar
*Lunch
*Online safety modules
*Engineering Ethics Case Studies
Orientation Day 2:
*Research projects presented to the group
*Teachers set goals/review expectations
*Lunch
*Lab safety training
Orientation Day 3:
*Sub group training in research techniques and tool usage
*Lab orientations
Week 2Seminar 1: Elements of Engineering Research Lesson PlansSeminar 2: Design of ExperimentsBrown bag check-in lunch
Week 3Seminar 3: Data Analysis & StatisticsBrown bag check-in lunchSeminar 4: Modeling and SimulationRound table lunch with NASCENT faculty
Week 4Seminar 5: What makes students successful in STEM majors?Brown bag check-in lunchSeminar 6: Careers in Engineering½ day fieldtrip
Week 5Seminar 7: More Engineering Lesson PlanningBrown bag check-in lunchRound table lunch with NASCENT faculty
Week 6Brown bag check-in lunch
Week 7Posters DueCurriculum Projects DueBrown bag check-in lunchPresent curriculum plansPoster Session
Celebration lunch
Program wrap up and feedback focus group