Collaborations with ND Energy Faculty to improve Energy Curriculum at Local High Schools

Author: Barbara Villarosa

Ret Logo3

ND Energy welcomes local high school teachers this summer who will be working alongside several ND Energy faculty and associated researchers to improve the energy curriculum in the teachers’ classrooms. The Research Experience for Teachers (RET): Engineering a More Sustainable Energy Future program began in 2011 and ran through 2015 with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  Expanding upon the original program, ND Energy is providing a revised RET program as a “test year” to prepare for the submission of a proposal to NSF in the fall for possible future funding.

According to principal investigator, Dr. Amy Hixon, assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, “The importance of providing teachers with the knowledge and resources required to educate students in STEM classes is a priority for ND Energy, and I look forward to helping the teachers direct their attention to the most critical elements in energy education today.”

AmyhixonProf. Amy Hixon, principal investigator for RET, works with students in her lab.

Dr. Ginger Sigmon, managing director of ND Energy, agrees. “At ND Energy, our primary goal is to advance energy research and education to the level of making a global impact. By helping high school teachers understand the importance of providing our youth with the necessary knowledge and tools, we are that much closer to ensuring that progress will continue well into the future.”

The ND Energy RET program begins Mon., June 13, and will continue through Fri., July 29. Seven high school teachers will conduct research with ND Energy faculty to learn scientific procedures and fundamental research that will be useful for them to develop related curriculum that can then be applied in their classrooms.

We are excited to introduce the following teacher and faculty participants and their research topics:

Holly Austin, Penn High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Ruilan Guo, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Research Topic:  Reverse Selective Polymeric Membranes for CO2 Separations

John Doty, LaPorte High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. William Phillip, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Research Topic:  Block Copolymer Membrane Adsorbers for Enhanced Heavy Metal Recovery

Jeff Kindelan, Clay High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Prashant Kamat, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Research Topic:  Semiconductor Quantum Dots for Light Energy Conversion

Andrew Namisnak, Mishawaka High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Paul McGinn, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Research Topic:  Fabrication of Solid State Batteries

Amy Ott, Riley High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Na Wei, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences
Research Topic:  Renewable Biocatalysis for Water Reuse through Biological and Biomimetic Enzyme Surface Display

Ann Rutherford, Marian High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Jennifer Schaefer, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Research Topic:  Advanced Battery Technologies

Brendan Tubbs, Adams High School
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Vlad Iluc, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Research Topic:  Green Chemistry

For more information about the RET program, contact Anne Berges Pillai, Education and Outreach Program Director, at apillai@nd.edu or 574-631-9106.

ND Energy is a Notre Dame Research center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.

Originally published by Barbara Villarosa at energy.nd.edu on June 09, 2016.