State-wide initiative encourages nanoscience research at universities
Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 22:06
Nanometers, a measurement equaling one billionth of a meter, are a big deal to some West Virginia University students.
The WVNano Initiative, founded in 2004, is a focal point for discovery and innovation in nanoscale science and engineering.
WVNano is a state-wide initiative, including Marshall and WV State University. WVU, the primary PhD-granting university in the state, is the leader of the program.
"WVNano is expected to generate knowledge that will catalyze new business activity in the state that will diversify its economy," said David Lederman, Interim Director of WVNano and professor of physics at WVU.
A Nanosystems Undergraduate Emphasis is an interdisciplinary approach to prepare students for the NSE workplace.
WVU students can enroll in a nine-credit emphasis for the 4 years of an undergraduate degree in nanoscience.
Students involved with WVNano are encouraged to enroll in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences program for those pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematical disciplines.
Graduate students also have opportunities to participate in year-long research and education in nanoscience.
The SURE program provides eight weeks of paid research activities and training on equipment, instrumentations, team building and career guidance.
This year, 31 students are involved in the SURE program, and entrance in the program is highly competitive, according to Michelle Richards-Babb, WVNano SURE Educational Coordinator and assistant professor of Chemistry.
"Immersion in research, career mentoring from role models in academia, industry, and government, and workshops that focus on communication and networking provide participants with a unique opportunity to explore the world of graduate school prior to graduating from college," Richards-Babb said.
Nanosystems Emphasis area is open to all students in science-related majors including biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics.
WVNano hopes to build a nanoscale science, engineering and education culture that encourages coordinated interdisciplinary research from the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels.