Summer Teacher Fellowships

teachers who have attended the last RET program around the nittany lion Names from left to right: Christopher P. Tekely, Daniel E. Malone, Gary L. Spotts, Douglas M. Brown, Jennifer M. Scalia, Brianna M. Miller

The Center for Nanoscale Science provides an opportunity (with a stipend) for middle and high school science teachers to participate in frontier research or educational projects at a major research facility. Summer projects are drawn from current nanoscale science research in condensed matter physics, chemistry, engineering, and materials science. In addition, approximately half of the participants' time is used to develop curriculum from their research experience. In order to gain a greater understanding of the way research is used to solve problems and to become familiar with laboratory procedures, many of the teachers are teamed with a research group within the MRSEC.

For information about applying, and about the benefits and responsibilities of the program, download the program flier.

How to Apply

Application to the program begins on Monday, December 15, 2014. To apply, please visit the Physics/MRSEC REU/RET website by clicking here.

Along with the application form, your application should include:

  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which should be from your school principal. These letters may be submitted separately by mail or e-mail
  • A current resume
  • A student demographic profile (optional)
  • A sample of a lesson you have designed and implemented in your classroom

Applications are due on February 27, 2015. Award notifications will be made on March 27, 2015. The 2015 program dates are June 22 - July 31.

Education/Outreach minigrants may be available for those who are accepted.

For more information or to apply for a position next summer, please contact Francelys Medina via email at or via phone at +1-814-867-2461.

Previous Fellowship Projects

Below is a list of participants, mentors and titles of research (or education) projects for teachers working with the MRSEC during the summer.

2013 RET Research Projects

Evaluating the Effects of Surfactants on Surface Tension in the High School Classroom
Name: Terri L.Ogden
School: Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School
Mentor: Prof. Christine Keating

Evaluating the Effects of Surfactants on Surface Tension in the High School Classroom
Name: Cortney C. Wright
School: Bedford County Career and Technology Center
Mentor: Prof. Christine Keating

Characterizing Emergent Properties of Magnetic Nanowire Motors
Name: Craig A. Fink
School: Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School
Mentor: Dr. Thomas Mallouk

Zooming into the Atomic Arrangement of Nanostructured Crystals
Name: Adria M. Bondanza
School: Sun Valley High School
Mentor: Profs. Roman Engel-Herbert and Nasim Alem

Zooming into the Atomic Arrangement of Nanostructured Crystals
Name: Joyce E. Theriot
School: Rustin High School
Mentor: Profs. Roman Engel-Herbert and Nasim Alem

Glucose Effects on the Schooling or Exclusion Behavior of Silver Phosphate Microparticles under Different pH Conditions
Name: Steven K. Schulz
School: Manheim Township High School
Mentor: Prof. Ayusman Sen

2012 RET Research Projects

Synthesis and Characterization of Nanoparticulate Magnetite
Name: Brianna M. Miller
School: Middletown Area High School
Mentor: Prof. James H. Adair

Gold Nanoparticles in the High School Chemistry Classroom: from Synthesis to Application
Name: Jennifer M. Scalia
School: Downingtown STEM Academy
Mentor: Prof. Ayusman Sen

Reflections of my experiences as Participating Teacher in the RET Program at Penn State
Name: Daniel E. Malone
School: Fox Chapel Area School District
Mentor: Dr. Kirstin Drew

Separated Colorimetric Assay in a Three-Dimensional Paper Analytical Device
Name: Douglas M. Brown
School: Haverford High School
Mentor: Prof. Scott Phillips

Predicting Magnetization Switching Behavior in Magnetic Nanostructures
Name: Christopher P. Tekely
School: Philipsburg Osceola Junior High School
Mentor: Prof. Engel-Herbert Roman

Synthesis of Silicon Dioxide Beads for Colloidal Crystal Investigations
Name: Gary L. Spotts
School: Bald Eagle Area Middle and High School
Mentor: Prof. Thomas E. Mallouk

2011 Projects

A Sensitive Low Cost Colorimeter to Bring Spectrometry to Secondary School Science Labs
Teacher: William Hughes, Park Forest Middle School, State College, PA
Mentor: Dr. Daniel Sykes

A Pedagogical Approach To Electromagnetism
Teacher: Jose Castro, Genesis School, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
Mentor: Dr. John Asbury

Simulation and Characterization of Novel Antennas for MRI
Teacher: Idellyse Martinez, Christian Military Academy, Vega Baja, Puerto Rico
Mentor: Drs. Michael T. Lanagan and Thomas Neuberger

Microfluidic Devices Made Out of Paper for Point-of-Care Diagnostics
Teachers: Douglass Brown, Haverford High School, Philadelphia, PA
Mentor: Drs. Scott Phillips and Joseph Keiser

Assessment of Inhibition of Bacteria by Silver Colloid-Impregnated Bandages
Teachers: Elinor Graf, St. Hubbert High School for Girls, Philadelphia, PA and Heath Stout, Park Forest Middle School, State College, PA
Mentor: Drs. Christine Keating and Steve Keating

2010 Projects

The Development of a Cost-Effective Electric Conductivity Meter
Teacher: Matthew Johnson, West Branch Area Junior/Senior High School
Mentor: Dr. Daniel Sykes

The Photoelectric Effect
Teacher: Robert White, State College Area High School
Mentor: Dr. John Asbury

Electricity, Magnetism & Eddy Currents
Teacher: Michelle E. Doll, Manheim Township School District
Mentor: Mary Schoemaker

Wind Energy: Education, Science and Engineering
Teachers: Eldred Bagley, Philadelphia Military Academy and Elizabeth Haggerty, a pre-service teacher
Mentor: Mary Schoemaker

2009 Projects

Building a High Quality, Low-Cost Fluorimeter
Teachers: Matthew Johnson, West Branch Area, Jr/Sr High and Douglas Schunk, State College Area, High School
Mentor: Dr. Daniel Sykes

Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles
Teachers: Ali Jafry, Madison High School of Meteorology and Space Science, Bobby Stewart, Roberts Vaux High School and Bryan Brightbill, Bald Eagle Area High School
Mentor: Dr. Christine Keating

Nanoscale Lessons: Electroplating, Microscopy and Propulsion
Teachers: Paul Longwell, Hollidaysburg Area High School, Chantelle Smith, James Alcorn, Philadelphia School District, and Stephen Stilianos, College of Education, Penn State University
Mentors: Dr. Ronald Redwing and Mary Schoemaker

2008 & 2009 Projects

MgB2 Thin Film Growth
Teacher: Eldred Bagley, Elverson Military High School, Philadelphia School District
Mentor: Dr. Xiaoxing Xi

Conveying Scale to Museum Visitors
Teacher: Natasha Eckert, Norristown Area High School
Mentor: Dr. Jayatri Das

Magnetorheology of Submicron Diameter Microwires in Ethanol
Teacher: Paul Longwell, Hollidaysburg High School
Mentor: Dr. Robert Bell

Demonstrating Elasticity Differences of Amorphous and Granular Metals
Teacher: David McCoullum, University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: Dr. Vincent Crespi

Cell Membrane Classroom Activities
Teacher: Kirsten Miller, Penn State University, Pre-service teacher (Secondary Science Education)
Mentor: Dr. Ronald D. Redwing

Study of the Drag Force in Granular Medium
Teacher: Krysten Scheidler, Penn State University, Pre-service teacher (Secondary Science Education)
Mentor: Dr. Peter Schiffer

Development of Chromatography Classroom Activities using Plant Pigments
Teacher: Chantelle Smith, Alcorn Middle Years Annex (Philadelphia School District)
Mentor: Dr. Jackie Bortiatynski

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Support for the Center for Nanoscale Science is provided through the NSF Grant DMR-08-20404, part of the NSF MRSEC Program. Additional support is provided by Penn State University, Materials Research Institute, and by Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Development Fund.
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