High School Students Report Feeling Empowered as Experts as they Present Their Research

Achievement date: 

Teachers and students participated in a multi-tiered mentoring model that included research presentations to their local school board and to a national conference. The program was mentored by researchers at the Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at the University of Illinois.


Students learned how to conduct research within a team, use scientific articles as a foundational guide, and solve problems as a group. Students reported feeling empowered as experts when explaining their research to board members and to a large audience at the 2020 Emerging Research Conference in Washington, D.C.


POETS was awarded a second Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) supplement, which supported the exploration of the multi-tiered mentoring model. Students and their teachers participated in a research experience over the summer and through the school year. REM students presented their research to a monthly meeting of their school board.

REM students and teachers also attended the Washington conference, and during their visit to the nation’s capital they visited Howard University, a POETS partner, to speak with Center graduate students about their career paths. They also met with Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s policy expert and discussed education issues relevant to students of color, and met with Rep. Rodney Davis.