Education

The overarching goal of UC CEIN Education is to ensure that the science performed and the discoveries made within the Center are leveraged to serve broader societal needs; to this end, UC CEIN Education fosters cross-Theme and cross-campus dialogue and interaction by designing programs that foster collaborative interdisciplinary science, advance discovery and understanding while promoting teaching, training, and learning, mentor students and postdocs, and include the participation of underrepresented groups in the sciences. 

CEIN Education consists of four project areas and one seed project:

Project 1: Student/Postdoctoral Mentoring and Professional Development
Meghan Horan, Courtney Thomas, Dave Avery, Hilary Godwin

The primary goal of the UC CEIN’s student/postdoctoral mentoring and professional development program is to improve participants’ workforce preparation and professional skills by offering mentoring activities and targeted professional development workshops.  Theme 8 recently performed a needs assessment with the students and postdocs (June 2016). This was designed to determine what students and postdocs felt were the most important needs for their career development, allowing CEIN to continue tailoring education outreach.  The project goal is being executed by the following:

a) Monthly student/postdoc webinars

b) One-on-one consultations

c) Leadership Workshop

e) Alumni Tracking, Networking, and Survey

Project 2: Course Development, Workshops, and Learning Tools
Courtney Thomas and Alex Andres

The goal of this project is to develop and disseminate educational outputs related to nanoscience and the environment.  Educational outputs include lectures, workshops, and online content related to Center research.  CEIN has partnered with Science Buddies, a non-profit organization that provides free science project productivity tools, to create  two validated, step-by-step science fair project ideas, “Tiny Titans: Can Silver Nanoparticles Neutralize E. coli bacteria?”, and “Looking Downstream: Could Nanosilver in Consumer Products Affect Pond Life?”  These and other educational outputs, such as our NISENet Linked Product, Oil Spill Clean Up Simulation, contribute to stakeholder understanding of concepts related to nanoscale science and engineering, fill gaps in the stakeholder knowledge base, and provide a springboard from which the Center can build future collaborations and partnerships. Currently, a third Science Buddies project “Activated Charcoal Filtration: Particle Size vs. Efficiency” is in progress. Once completed, the project will be submitted to Science Buddies for review and publication on their website.

Project 3: Informal Science Education (ISE) and Public Outreach
Meghan Horan, Alex Andres, Dave Avery, and Hilary Godwin

The goal of our public outreach projects is to provide formal and informal opportunities for dialogue between the Center and its stakeholders, and to expand the knowledge base on research, societal implications, and risk perception related to the environmental implications of nanotechnology.  The Center engages in public outreach by hosting academic conferences, seminars, and symposia, and by participating in public events.  Over the past year, CEIN held a “Women in STEM” public lecture and discussion at the Santa Monica Public Library (March 2016). In addition, CEIN participated in UCLA’s “Exploring Your Universe” event, an annual science outreach day (November 2016), providing hands-on scientific demos on nanotechnology. CEIN members also participated in CNSI’s ArtSci program over the summer, introducing “nanoscience and the environment” concepts to high school students. Our future plans include:  partnering with the California Science Center for NanoDays with the aim of reaching underserved audiences (April 2017); holding a public lecture and discussion at the Santa Monica Public Library (Spring 2017; topic TBD); and participating in CNSI’s ArtSci program for Summer 2017.

The Center maintains a system for web-based knowledge dissemination to the public through its website, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and YouTube channel. 

Project 4: Synergistic/Integrative Center Activities
Meghan Horan, Dave Avery, and Trish Holden

To promote collaboration, cross-fertilization, and interdisciplinary partnerships across the UC-CEIN and with other research partners, the Education group helps to develop and deliver mechanisms to support face-to-face and web-based meetings, such as monthly working group meetings, seminar speakers, and the Center’s annual meeting.  Our monthly working group includes the Carbonaceous Working Group, which is cross-Theme and cross-campus. External partners include the U.S. EPA, NIST, Sandia National Laboratory, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These meetings are currently taking place until the end of the academic year (May 2017).  Our future plans include our annual meeting/retreat for Spring 2017 as well as a cross-campus visit at one of the participating institution laboratories (Spring 2017), location TBD.

Project ED-5: SUstainable nanoMAterials Laboratory (SMAL) (Seed Project)
Catherine Nameth and Korin Wheeler (Santa Clara University)

This curriculum development project aims to translate the cutting-edge research of the UC-CEIN to an undergraduate population by collaboratively designing and developing a research-based laboratory module for the undergraduate chemistry classroom.  In the Sustainable nanoMAterials Lab (SMAL) module, students evaluate the role of common biological macromolecules in nanotoxicity; this module is based upon the high throughput (HTP) assays already established at UC-CEIN.  By bringing scientific research to the classroom, undergraduates engage in a learning-by-doing approach, thereby providing students with an authentic, interdisciplinary research experience with real-world applications.  Specifically, students are exposed to issues considered in the evaluation of chemical toxicity (in human health and the environment) and techniques involved in sterile cell growth and safe handling of laboratory chemicals.  Many students traditionally underrepresented in the sciences do not seek out science majors and research experiences in particular.  By introducing undergraduates to research at an introductory level, we extend the reach of the traditional research model and engage these students in the scholarly community early in their career.

back to top