Much of the fundamental science that is being done by nanotechnologists today will be the current technology in twenty years. For this reason the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute feels very strongly about educating and training the next generation of scientists.
The George A. Jeffrey NanoExplorers Program has grown into a nationally recognized nanotechnology program with over 200 applicants each summer vying for 40 coveted positions. The summer program promotes nanotechnology-based education for high school students in the 10th through 12th grades. The goal of the program is to inspire high school students to become productive scientists and engineers by enabling them to do original research work. Once admitted into the program, each student selects a faculty member’s research lab to join. As much as possible, the students are treated like any other member of the lab and the work they do is associated with actual funded programs at the University. Leveraging their accomplishments as NanoExplorers, these students have gone on to the highest ranked universities in our nation, and have entered UTD as prestigious McDermott Scholars.
They have presented their work at international conferences, coauthored seminal publications that receive national and international news coverage, and have had their work featured in Science and Nature magazines – the highest impact journals in the world. Since the program’s inception in 2002, over 400 students have gained their first real laboratory experience in NanoTech’s laboratories. Students participating in this program have been extremely successful in winning international scholarships and awards based on research performed during the program. Since the institute started tracking the success of the participants in 2006, over 60 awards and scholarships in international competitions (Intel, Siemens, etc.) have been awarded to NanoExplorers.
We at the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute also feel strongly that an interest in science can occur at a much younger age than participation in our NanoExplorers Program can allow. For this reason we also participate in many events and workshops around the DFW area intended to engage younger children in STEM based activities. Since 2012 our group has teamed with local area museums for NanoDays, an annual weeklong event in late March that exposes visitors to educational programs focused on nanoscale science and engineering and its potential impact on society. This nationwide festival is organized by participants in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network and takes place in over 250 museums, universities, and research centers across the country. In 2014 we began collaborating with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in the heart of downtown Dallas to host this event. (Maybe put in some of the pics we have taken at Perot). We also participate in Engineers week, and many other STEM based programs both on and off the UTD campus, including small group tours of our laboratories. For more information on collaborating with us on these or other events contact Program Specialist Catherine Challenger.