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NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)STEM

Training STEM Teachers in Alternative (Biomass, Solar, Wind, & Hydrogen) Energy Research

Education plays a vital role in the development of energy professionals for a sustainable society. The Hampton Roads area is the biggest metropolitan region in Virginia, with a population of more than 1.7 million and compromising eight cities. The main goal of the RET Site: Training STEM teachers in alternative (biomass, solar, wind, and hydrogen) energy research through hands on laboratory and computational experiences, at Old Dominion University (ODU), is to establish long-term collaborative partnerships among the ODU, public school districts, and local industries in the Hampton Roads area to bring STEM knowledge in the alternative energy areas to K-12 classrooms. The goal of the RET Site will be achieved through research training of STEM teachers in a 6-week summer program and post-program translation of teachers' research experiences into classrooms. STEM teachers will be engaged in hands on research experience in alternative energy through the cutting-edge research projects. The RET participants will then translate the acquired research experiences and knowledge into their classrooms to encourage students, especially those from the underrepresented groups, to pursue STEM degrees and careers. The RET site serves as a long-term network among mentors, teachers, and industrial partners, which will eventually benefit K-12 students' perception of STEM careers. In addition, graduate students will support K-12 classroom activities and community outreaches.

Over a three year period, this RET Site will host a total of 30 grade 9-12 science teachers to conduct research in the fields of alternative (biomass, solar, wind, and hydrogen) energy at ODU laboratories during the summer program. Through this RET program, STEM teachers, especially those from underrepresented groups, will be trained to develop both experimental and computational research skills, while gaining knowledge of advanced science and technology concepts in alternative energy. An Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) workshop will be organized to train teachers to translate RET outcomes into K-12 STEM education through enhancement of the current curricula. It is expected that these activities will significantly assist teachers to encourage more students to pursue STEM degrees and careers by using practical examples. RET teachers will be exposed and contribute to the advances of cutting-edge research on alternative energy projects mentored by both faculty and industry mentors. The expected tangible outcomes of the project are to bring alternative energy curriculum in the local Hampton region high school classrooms through the trained RET teachers and involve those teachers in scientific and educational publications.


About

Support for Research Activities

  1. $7,000 summer stipend + $300 paid substitute

Qualifications

  1. U.S. citizen or permanent resident

  2. High school teachers in the Hampton Roads area

Requirements

  1. Perform at least 30 hours/week research with the mentor for 6 weeks

  2. Attend Argument-Driven Inquiry (ADI) workshop every Friday and throughout the 7th week

  3. Implement the research outcome into the curriculum using ADI



Faculty Mentors

Xiaoyu Zhang

Xiaoyu Zhang

Program Director

Sandeep Kumar

Sandeep Kumar

Co-Program Director

Orlando Ayala

Orlando Ayala


Tian-Bing Xu

Tian-Bing Xu

Sushil Chaturvedi

Sushil Chaturvedi

Shizhi Qian

Shizhi Qian


Mujde Erten-Unal

Mujde Erten-Unal

Alvin Holder

Alvin Holder

James Lee

James Lee


Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson