The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is a convergence research hub for addressing the fundamental challenges associated with phosphorus sustainability. The vision of STEPS is to develop new scientific and technological solutions to regulating, recovering and reusing phosphorus that can readily be adopted by society through fundamental research conducted by a broad, highly interdisciplinary team. Key outcomes include new atomic-level knowledge of phosphorus interactions with engineered and natural materials, new understanding of phosphorus mobility at industrial, farm, and landscape scales, and prioritization of best management practices and strategies drawn from diverse stakeholder perspectives. Ultimately, STEPS will provide new scientific understanding, enabling new technologies, and transformative improvements in phosphorus sustainability.
The RTNN is a consortium of three North Carolina (NC) institutions and is a site in the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) network. NC State, Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill are all located in close geographical proximity within North CarolinaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Research Triangle. The RTNN currently offers fabrication and characterization services and education to a diverse range of users from colleges, universities, industry, non-profits, and individuals. The RTNN brings specialized technical expertise and facilities to the National NNCI in areas that include wide bandgap semiconductors, soft materials (animal, vegetative, textile, polymer), functional nanomaterials, in situ nanomaterials characterization and environmental impact, nanofluidics, heterogeneous integration, photovoltaics, and positron annihilation spectroscopy. The RTNN strengthens the National NNCI in the areas of social and ethical implications of nanotechnology, environmental impacts of nanotechnology, and education/workforce development through interaction with industry and community colleges in the Research Triangle. All facilities engaged in this consortium have established track records of facilitating industrial research and technology transfer, strengths that further leverage the proposed site within the Research Triangle.
The research focus of the RET site is atomic-scale design and engineering. Participants in the program will be paired with research mentors in one of the three Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) institutions: NC State, Duke, or UNC. Research projects will enable participants to engineer, create, and characterize nanoscale materials or devices and connect their work to real-world applications. Teachers will gain experience with state-of-the-art tools and techniques that are used in scientific and engineering research. By integrating their research into creative lesson plans, educators can introduce nanotechnology concepts to their students, inspire and motivate them to pursue STEM careers, and prepare them for the scientific workforce. Participants will be recruited from local school districts (Johnston County Schools, Durham Public Schools) and community colleges with high populations of underrepresented students. Prior to conducting research, participants in the site will attend a week-long orientation. The following weeks will intertwine research activities with curricular development. To cap off the program, participants will finalize curricular materials and share their research experiences with fellow RET participants in a symposium. Upon return to their home institutions, educators will implement their curricula and work with open-access facilities at RTNN institutions to expose students to cutting-edge fabrication and characterization tools. Participants will share their curricula online as well as at local education conferences.
Dr. Gail Jones will serve as NCSU PI and project co-PI and will be responsible for the oversight and administration for the NCSU portion of this project. Dr. Jones will conduct studies of the efficacy of teacher micro credentials, assist with organizing teacher coaches to assist teachers with professional development, and supervise the NCSU student.
This ITEST Strategies Project will research and test a new model to promote the development of positive attitudes toward STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and to increase interest in STEM careers. Phase 1 of the project will include exploratory research examining science capital and habitus for a representative sample of youth at three age ranges: 8-9, 9-10 and 11-12 years. We will measure the access that youth have to adults who engage in STEM careers and STEM leisure activities. In addition, we will document access to resources, prior experiences in out of school settings, identity, self efficacy, interests, and career aspirations in STEM. In phase II we will test a model (with a control group and a treatment group) to enhance science capital and habitus for youth. We will offer exciting and motivating STEM related programs to the targeted treatment youth and their families with the goal of making the experience sustained, informal, and engaging. We will create an environment where youth and their families see science and engineering as something they do for fun, where they feel supported and valued, while promoting STEM career awareness, science identity, and an interest in exploring science and engineering beyond the life of the project. INTELLECTUAL MERIT- This project has the potential to transform knowledge and views of STEM career education. This projectÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s systemic approach that situates youth within a larger community that includes family, peers, formal and informal educators, community members and informal educators can provide valuable information about factors that influence STEM attitudes, self efficacy, interests, and career aspirations. The inclusion of the family as a fundamental part of the program is a unique aspect of the project that may prove to be a critical factor to changing career pathways for underserved youth. DELIVERABLES include: 1) a program model to provide rich STEM experiences for youth and families in a highly supportive setting (peer support, family involvement, mentor relationships, access to STEM materials and technology, community and teacher support). 2) research that investigates and evaluates the efficacy of family programming as agents of change for youth STEM attitudes, interests, self efficacy, career aspirations and family support of STEM, 3) case studies of youth and their families that documents the processes and contextualized experiences of the participants in the STEM program, 4) data on targeted youth that will show profiles of STEM factors (pre and post) for self efficacy, career interests, STEM experiences, science capital, and STEM career aspirations, 5) and three cohorts of youth and their families (60 youth and ~240 family members) that will have extended engagement in STEM activities. BROADER IMPACT- This project will yield new knowledge about effective approaches to promote STEM careers with youth. Formal and informal educators (from museums and universities) will be more knowledgeable about how to best educate and work with underserved families to promote STEM learning and STEM careers. The project has the potential to change the STEM capital of underserved youth and their families (e.g., Latino/as, African American, and those from low wealth) resulting in a more positive identity with STEM, increasing interest in STEM, and increasing career aspirations in STEM careers for the participating youth. This systems approach to STEM careereducation has the potential to transform views of STEM for individuals, families (including influences on siblings), and the local communities. If successful, this project could be a national model to effectively engage youth in STEM careers.
Jones and graduate assistants will conduct research to document middle school studentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ concepts of presence, self-efficacy for science, concepts of size and scale, science interests, and career aspirations and changes in these factors as a result of using zSpace technology. The research team will also document teachers and coaches concerns and perceptions of using zSpace in science instruction.
Project responsibilities for Dr. Jones include: 1. Teacher workshops. Plan, implement and evaluate a workshop for secondary teachers and one for community college instructors. 2. Community College Administrators. Assist with coordination of a half day meeting with community college administrators and Power America faculty and staff. 3. Assist with the preparation of planning documents for the education plans for Power America. 4. Create a proposal for a session for teachers at the NC Science Teachers Association annual workshop for November of 2015. 5. Work with the education director to plan experiences and educational programs including programs for undergraduates and graduate students. 6. Assist with the development of an industry workforce needs assessment. 7. Work with the web designer to create an effective structure for the educational components of Power America. 8. Provide leadership in the creation of an educational advisory board that can guide the educational activities of Power America. 9. Assist the education director in creating effective evaluation tools to evaluate the educational activities.
This project, entitled Wearable Nanodevices, Linking Health and Environment: RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site will provide 42 high school STEM teachers from Durham Public Schools, Lee County Schools, and the Wake County Public School System with a 7-week summer program and additional academic year follow-up experiences. Middle and High School STEM Teachers (middle school science, high school biology, chemistry, physics, physical science, and teachers of relevant Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses) will be eligible to apply to the program. The project design is based on the successful Kenan Fellows Program model of providing teachers with outstanding experiences in research and industry while also developing pedagogical and instructional design skills and teacher leadership. Successful teacher applicants will participate in the Kenan Fellows Program working with ASSIST faculty mentors on engineering projects and participating in Kenan Fellows leadership development activities. This project will help the ASSIST Center to fulfill its goal of forming partnerships with precollege institutions to strengthen the STEM pipeline and promoting technical literacy and motivation to contribute to solving the Grand Challenges set forth by the National Academy of Engineering. The project will assist the school districts in meeting challenging academic standards and developing strong STEM programs.
This proposed ISE research project will examine the characteristics, motivations, in- and out-of-school experiences, informal science activities, and career trajectories of science hobbyists and master hobbyists. Master hobbyists are individuals who have developed science expertise and spend considerable free time engaging in science as a leisure activity. Master science hobbyists are found across most areas of science (e.g. birdwatchers, fossil collectors, master gardeners, amateur astronomers). This research will determine who these individuals are, their career pathways, how they engage in and what motivates, sustains, and defines their science interests. Deliverables include research studies to answer these questions: 1) What are the characteristics of master and other science hobbyists? 2) What are the pathways and career choices that influenced master and other science hobbyists? 3) For those science hobbyists who did not enter a science career, why didn?t they? 4) What in and out-of-school science-related experiences have master science hobbyists had during their lives? 5) How has participation and interest in the hobby developed over the person?s lifespan? 6) What motivates and sustains science hobbyists? 7) What are similarities/differences (identity, gender, ethnicity, personality, motivational differences) among individuals who participate in hobbies related to science? 8) Do career and hobby interests vary by individual/cultural factors? 9) How do science hobbyists experience their hobbies and engage (if at all) with formal and informal scientists and science educators? 10) How do master science hobbyists participate in communities of practice (face-to-face, media, electronic networks) with respect to their hobby?
Synthetic chemistry offers essentially limitless possibilities for tuning spin properties of molecules. Translating this tunability into technological innovation requires integrating new molecules into robust solid state environments. Controlling molecular spin transport necessitates control over both spin properties and surface chemistry. Here, we propose a center to organize a multidisciplinary research coalition at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that is dedicated to meeting this challenge for the development of functional organic spintronic devices. The technology of spintronics envisions the transport and manipulation of spin for information processing, computation, and non-volatile memory. Shifting device design from utilizing carrier charge to spin can lead to valuable gains in power consumption and speed and is likely to lead to innovative device architectures . Organic materials offer advantages for spin transport of theoretically long spin coherence times due to minimal spin-orbit and hyperfine interactions . Furthermore, the optical properties of molecules are often closely coupled to the accessible spin states leading to opportunities for optical spintronic devices. The Center for Molecular Spintronics will have the initial objectives (Phase I) of establishing fundamental physical and chemical properties of organic molecules at interfaces for spintronic applications. These will include organic semiconductors and self assembled monolayers on magnetic surfaces as well as newly developed metal complexes with novel spin properties. The primary focus will be determining surface stability, efficiency and microscopic mechanisms of spin transport and injection, and the influence of surface nanostructuring on these materials classes. Phase I activities will provide baseline synthesis, characterization, and capabilities for surface functionalization and predictive modeling that will guide a long term (Phase II) concerted efforts in the development of prototype spintronic devices.