The convergence of scientific disciplines at the quantum and molecular scales creates fertile terrain for a new model of interdisciplinary education. Nowhere is such a model more appropriate than in the environmental arena where discovery and problem-solving draw on principles from multiple disciplines including biology, chemistry, physics, and information science.
CEINT research is organized as team-based, interdisciplinary efforts that expand the academic community of participating students to include the faculty, facilities, and student colleagues at all the participating universities.
Key elements of our educational program for university students include:
- Curricular development that includes discovery-based laboratory activities for undergraduates, new common core courses for scientists and engineers based on the convergent interdisciplinarity that nanoscience inspires, and a graduate level textbook;
- A CEINT-sponsored seminar series
- Research experiences for undergraduates
- International experiences and service learning opportunities through the Center’s research partners, such as the NSF-funded PIRE Partnership for Education and Research in Membrane Nanotechnologies (PERMEANT), Engineers Without Borders, and Engineering World Health;
- CEINT annual technical workshop and conference organized with our sister center UCCEIN based at UCLA.
- Undergraduate Research Assistantships/Fellowships that engage students in interdisciplinary research and motivate them to pursue advanced degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research;
- Graduate Fellowships for MS and PhD candidates facilitate participation in multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams. Graduate Fellows are expected to complete an internship, service learning project, or external laboratory rotation with collaborating faculty, international partners, end-users or practitioners. These experiences ensure Fellows' educational preparation for effective contributions, and extend CEINT influence into industry and public service;
CEINT educational outreach includes innovative curricula development G9-12, leveraging “Nano2Earth”, a program developed by Co-PI Hochella and colleagues at Virginia Tech, that uses nanoscience as a vehicle to transform curricula into an interdisciplinary approach to molecular biology, geochemistry, physics, chemistry, mathematics and ecology and encourages pre-college students to pursue studies in science and engineering.
CEINT is collaborating with the N.C. Museum of Life and Science (MLS) in Durham, NC on educational initiatives to increase public understanding of nano-scale science as well as to enhance public awareness of the importance of risk assessment for responsible development of nano-materials. Our partnership with MLS is leveraging NCMLS’s activities in the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) program with the goal of creating educational materials and activities on environmental implications of nanotechnology.