Partnership for Research & Education in Materials (PREM): Cal State LA

The MRSEC connects Cal State LA faculty and students with Penn State faculty and grad mentors who match their research interests.

This partnership between the California State University, Los Angeles and the Center for Nanoscale Science enhances the research and education of materials sciences and engineering at Cal State LA. Its focus is on mentoring, guiding and training undergraduate and master’s students for careers in the field via a comprehensive scientific and educational program that will facilitate and assure the development of a Master’s of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Cal State LA and establish a bridge structure for Cal State LA students to continue on to PhD studies at Penn State, other leading institutions, or seek employment in the field after graduation.

The partnership integrates three research topics and one educational component as follows: (T1) Magnetic, Electrical, Thermal and Ferroelectric Properties of the Oxygen-isotope Substituted Half-doped Manganites, (T2) Oxygen-evolving Electrocatalysts and Photoelectrocatalysts Immobilized onto Light-absorbing Perovskite Metal Oxides, (T3) Development of Catalytic Nanopumps Utilizing Carbon Nanotubes and Layer-by-Layer Processing and (T4) Development of CSULA’s Master of Science Degree in Materials Science and Engineering and Educational Plan for the PREM. Scientific emphasis is on the development, discovery and application of new materials and materials properties that are important to solving current societal problems. A yearly competitive Seed program provides a means to involve new faculty and regularly renew the research focus of the PREM. The educational program centers on the development of a Master’s of Science degree in Materials Science, including curriculum, prototype classes, instructional materials, and assessment. PREM students are active collaborators in research and receive summer REU internships (undergraduates) and Research Assistantships (MS level) both at CSULA and Penn State. The partnership provides an infrastructure to naturally encourage graduating students to pursue admission at leading institutions to continue their education or seek employment in the field. The day-to-day educational aspects of the proposal include workshops and scientific seminars, a summer retreat, “highlights” development, oral presentation critiquing, and academic advising and mentoring. A summer research experience for academically talented high schools students collaborates with four local minority high schools (Roosevelt, Garfield, Lincoln and Wilson) with over 95% Latino enrollment. Mini-grants are avilable to student groups who develop outreach mechanisms to integrate the community and the PREM center, such as demo presentations, star-gazing parties and science museum/observatory visits involving the participation of local high or grammar schools.

These research and academic activities not only enable Cal State LA to continue its long tradition of educating local students, many from underserved communities, but play a vital role in creating the next generation of scientists and educators whose vision will be to link science priorities to the solving of societal problems.