Research Experience for Teachers Fosters Award-Winning High School Students in Hispanic Communities
The Center for Structured Organic Particulate Systems (C-SOPS), a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Rutgers University in partnership with New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Purdue University, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, hosted a six-week-long Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program during the summer of 2014 at NJIT. With additional funding awarded through the American Chemical Society’s Project SEED Program (ACS-SEED)—a summer research program designed to inspire economically disadvantaged students with real-life experiences as chemists—as well as other awards, the RET program allowed participating teachers to invite six high school students to NJIT to explore engineering research.
Eleven high school teachers completed joint research projects through the RET program and created high school classroom lessons. The attending teachers represented school districts with large constituents of underrepresented minority students. The student group included three Hispanic girls and one Hispanic boy. The program resulted in two academic journal articles authored jointly by attending teachers and several awards by the teachers’ students.
Teachers participating in the RET program co-authored two published journal papers, including one on the “Prediction of Porosity from Particle Scale Interactions: Surface Modification of Fine Cohesive Powders," published in Powder Technology; and a second on “Raman spectroscopy for in-line and off-line quantification of poorly soluble drugs in strip films,” which appeared in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics.
In addition, two high school students, Olivia Hernandez and Maryann Moquete, won multiple awards following the program. Hernandez took first place in the ACS Project SEED Science Fair held at Seton Hall University in 2014; she also won second place in the Saint Joseph College Science Fair. Moquete achieved a first-place award at the Seton Hall Poster Competition and was awarded second place at Union City High School’s science fair.