Nanotech Helping to Spur New STEM Teaching in Public Schools

Achievement date: 

A summer program is fortifying STEM teaching in public schools that serve economically disadvantaged and minority students with a grant received by faculty at the Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST), funded by the NSF and based at North Carolina State University.


Teachers from the public schools attend the weeks-long Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, which includes a follow-up weekend and mentoring during the school year. They experience wearable nanodevices and other systems that address real health problems, and get help in developing coursework that can get students excited about STEM research.


Teachers are drawn from grades 6 through 12, when it can be difficult to integrate technology and engineering into traditional classes. Besides the RET summer program, the effort is developing long-term, collaborative relationships between STEM teachers and engineering faculty and research team members.

The project, entitled “Wearable Nanodevices, Linking Health and Environment: RET in Engineering and Computer Science,” is funded by an NSF grant of nearly $500,000. It will provide the experience to 42 middle and high school STEM teachers from public schools that serve large populations of poor and minority students.