Experience STEAM Event a Huge Success

In early August, MNT-EC was a proud sponsor and supporter of the Experience STEAM event at the Mall of America. It is a powerful testimony of what happens when NSF Centers collaborate, partner, and lift up the work of national centers across the USA.

Organized by the National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT) and the individual contributions of over 40 organizations. The STEAM Carnival provided broad public engagement in addition to the 18 educator workshops, 14 STEAM camps and it fostered enormous potential for future collaborations. 

We originally posted here on Think Small: NCAT Organizes Mall of America ‘Experience STEAM’ Event. Check out this photo gallery with wonderful images from MNT-EC Executive Team Member, Greg Kepner, from his experience and perspective.

Check out the massive list of Educational Partners and Corporate partners who made the event possible.

Visual List of Educational Partners for Experience STEAM event, including MNT-EC and many others.
Experience STEAM Educational Partners

Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center Inspires Students

As water and ice destroyed the ship’s hull, the crew of the famed HMS Endurance, abandoned the ship and began their 25-day journey back to civilization under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s leadership. The Endurance sank on October 27, 1915 and was all but lost for the last 107 years. 

Lost. That is, until a team of scientists found it on March 9, 2022 using submersibles and undersea drones in the Weddell Sea (on the Northern top of Antarctica). For any students of history, exploration, and adventure, the finding of the wooden ship at roughly 10,000 feet deep in icy waters is an exciting discovery. 

What Gets Students Interested in Research and Technology?

It is stories like this one, finding the HMS Endurance, that inspire future and current scientists and explorers. Although the remotely operated vehicle used in the MATE ROV competition is a very basic version of the Saab Sabertooth drone that was used to locate and photograph the long-lost ship, the same scientific and mathematical concepts apply and are part of the STEM focus that the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center strive to teach. MATE is a resource center funded by the National Science Foundation and headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College (MPC).

According to the website, “The MATE ROV Competition is an underwater robotics challenge that engages a global community of learners each year. This year, the MATE ROV Competition is highlighting the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and inspiring our global community to embrace environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts to create a sustainable future on our ocean planet. The competition is challenging its community to design and build an ROV and the necessary sensors and tooling to support work to combat climate change, provide clean energy, feed our growing global population, monitor ocean health, preserve our maritime history, and ‘deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want!’”

Working together, NCAT (MNT-EC Partner) and MATE have re-imagined the 2022 MATE ROV Competition to include a virtual world that enables students and mentors from around the globe to experience the competition even if they can’t participate in person. As it did last year, the 2022 MATE ROV Competition VR World will facilitate the social interaction, peer-to-peer networking, and shared experience that students value and appreciate most about the competition – and are especially craving during the time of this pandemic.

Pasadena City College Care Bears Underwater ROV Team

In the 2022 annual MATE ROV (remotely operated vehicle) Competition at Long Beach City College this year, the Pasadena City College “Care Bears Build a Sub” student team that won third place at the event (photo above). Kudos to all of the students, staff, and faculty who made this a great adventure. Sir Ernest Shackleton would be glad to know that his ship was not lost forever thanks to generations of students who made remotely operated submersibles a reality.

NCAT Organizes Mall of America ‘Experience STEAM’ Event

The National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT) funded through the NSF Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program is leading out this summer organizing a major STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) event at the Mall of America in Minnesota.

Experience STEAM attendees visiting a booth at Mall of America. August 2022.

The “Experience STEAM” event, August 10-14, 2022, is open to the public and will feature a number of additional MNT-EC partners as well that are organizing workshops and demonstrations. If you know anyone in that region of the USA, please share this post and information.

Experience STEAM is a large-scale STEAM outreach event at the Mall of America for their 30th Birthday Party. Experience STEAM will include academic partners from both the National Science Foundation and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities. It will feature a STEAM Carnival (5-30 minute hands-on activities with no prior experience necessary), a drone cage, pre-registered events for students, teachers, and industry professionals, and a world-qualifying VEX robotics tournament. Mall of America has an average daily attendance of 100,000+ and over 1M social media followers across all platforms.

Visit the NCAT Experience STEAM website for more info.

Pasadena City College Student Janet Teng Awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Scholarship Program, one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics in the United States, seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

According to the 2022 Scholars Press Release, from an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1,242 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 433 academic institutions to compete for the 2022 Goldwater scholarships. Of students who reported, 175 of the Scholars are men, 234 are women, and virtually all intend to obtain a Ph.D. as their highest degree objective. Forty-five Scholars are mathematics and computer science majors, 308 are majoring in the natural sciences, and 64 are majoring in engineering. Many of the Scholars have published their research in leading professional journals and have presented their work at professional society conferences.

2022 Goldwater Scholars Announced

Janet Teng, Pasadena City College Student, is one of 417 college students from across the United States to be selected for this highly respected scholarship. 

My research project is based on work performed at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). The project specifically probes surface chemical reactivity between iron metal and oxygen gas using the novel Operando Atom Probe Tomography analytical technique. This new approach to correlating the spatial signal with reaction time reveals the surface reaction kinetics and the crystal structure relationship of a material. Thus, mapping the progression of reactive gas penetration into metal surfaces to form metal oxides (i.e. corrosion) is made possible.

— Janet Teng, PCC Student and Undergraduate Researcher

Ms. Teng also expressed appreciation for all the support and guidance she received from her research mentors Dr. Jared Ashcroft, Dr. Tanya Faltens, Dr. Daniel Perea, Dr. Chiara Daraio, Dr. Sten Lambeets, Mr. Mark Wirth, and Dr. Yu-Chung Chang-Hou. Ms. Teng’s research and presentation is highlighted also in last fall’s Think Small post: 

You can also learn more about the Micro Nano Technology Collaborative Undergraduate Research Network (MNT-CURN) which offers a unique undergraduate research program for community college students.

Summer Internship Season is Kicking Off for 2022

UPDATE: Fall 2022 Internship for NEATEC-NIST PDF below:


Two Summer Internship Opportunities are in this post

NEATEC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offer a summer 2022 internship in Semiconductor and Nanotechnology

This is an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to learn about semiconductor and nanotechnology manufacturing processes by working in one of the most advanced centers in the nation. The student will be personally tutored by scientists and engineers at the NIST. A weekly stipend of $650 for the duration of the internship (14 weeks) and allowance of $500 for travel expenses.

Starting Date: May 23, 2022

Duration: 14 weeks

Venue: Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) NanoFab, at NIST – Gaithersburg, MD

Deadline: March 25, 2022. Visit this simple application form:

NEATEC NIST Internship Application – Summer 2022

Or download this PDF Flyer from NEATAC / NIST.  


Caltech Aerospace Mentorship Program (AMP) 

Caltech is offering a 10-week intensive summer research program in Caltech’s Aerospace department. The Aerospace Mentorship Program (AMP) offers summer interns the opportunity to complete a research project in faculty labs and work alongside graduate student mentors. Interns attend weekly seminars and skill development sessions, tour faculty labs, and participate in various social and cultural activities around Pasadena, CA. Participants receive a stipend of $6,840, plus $2,300 for on-campus housing and travel supplement.

Date: mid-June to late August 2022

Duration: 10 weeks

Venue: Caltech – Pasadena, CA

Deadline: March 31, 2022. Follow these links to apply: 

Summer AMP is a sub-program of Caltech’s WAVE Fellowships program and is intended for community college students. Applications are due by March 31, 2022. Students can start the application process via the SURF/WAVE webpage, here.

More information can be found at: AMP Summer Program.

Some Recent project titles:

  • Trajectory following for autonomous underwater vehicles
  • High strain rate compressive behavior of 3D printed aluminum 6061 of varying porosity
  • Implementation of reaction wheels and balancing for spacecraft simulators

Dr. Jared Ashcroft Recognized for Commitment and Passion for Student Success

If one thing captures Dr. Jared Ashcroft, it is this quote from him in a recent ATE Impacts article: “If I see an opportunity that looks like I can impact students, I want to do it and figure out a way to support it,” he said.

The article explains how, in “early 2021 Jared M. Ashcroft opened an email announcing the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) to the Advanced Technological Education community. “Oh, that looks really fun,” was his assessment of the linked website’s description of the national competition that the American Association of Community Colleges offers in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

“When he told his chemistry students at Pasadena City College about the contest and the opportunity to win cash prizes for innovative STEM solutions to real-world problems, four students formed a team and asked Ashcroft to be their mentor. Mentoring took his time – an hour or two at a time over several months – but “not a dime” from the budget of the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) he leads. And, Ashcroft said, the experience was well worth the students’ efforts and his time even if the team had not won first prize.”

Of course, under his leadership and a few other volunteers, that team did win first place. You can read about that here on the Think Small post: Pasadena City College Team Places First in National Community College Innovation Challenge.

Congratulations to Dr. Ashcroft for a job well done with guiding these students to great results and kudos for his ongoing commitment to their success. You can congratulate Jared for his fine work by commenting on our LinkedIn page.

You can read the full article by Madeline Patton on the ATE Impacts site: MNT-EC Principal Investigator Is a Fan of the Community College Innovation Challenge.

Roundup of Micro Nano Trends, News, and Updates from MNT-EC

If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this universe into parts—physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on—remember that nature does not know it!

 —Richard Feynman  (Shout out to the Twitter Account honoring Richard Feynman.) 
Leidenfrost Effect _Emory University, Burton Lab
Credit: Justin Burton, Emory University

In this new section, the Editor’s Corner, we will be sharing a curated list of articles, videos, and social feeds we find relevant or helpful to the MNT-EC mission of helping advance the micro nano technician workforce (you can read more about our mission and goals here).

Microelectronics 

If you are an educator or workforce development specialist, this upcoming workshop on February 3 may interest you: The State University of New York (SUNY), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) invite you to take part in a workshop focusing on current challenges in the education and workforce development pipeline for current and future microelectronics manufacturing and design in the U.S. Visit the MNT-EC Calendar for more info: Education and Workforce Development for U.S. Microelectronics Industry.


Social Media and Networking with Micro Nano professionals

Check out the Micro Nano Education LinkedIn page where we post new podcast episodes, job or internship info, and other relevant career and professional information. We also shared a link to the Top Nanotechnology Experts and Organizations on Twitter


Clean Drinking Water from Air

Thanks to relatively recent materials science work scientists are finding ways to extract water from air with solar powered hydropanels. 

According to Forbes, “An Arizona company, SOURCE, and its founder, Cody Friesen, a materials scientist and associate professor at Arizona State University, spent nearly seven years developing the Source Hydropanel… Pure water is mineralized with magnesium and calcium to achieve an ideal taste profile. Finally, sensors in each hydropanel monitor and optimize the water to maintain quality. The hydropanels produce an average of 3-5 liters of clean drinking water per day (or up to 1.3 gallons).”


Do-It-Yourself Microscope

Much of the micro nano world relies upon advanced microscopes. Although this simple, affordable, and fun microscope is far from advanced, it is elegant and it does make science accessible in important ways. The Foldscope is a do-it-yourself (DIY) type microscope, according to the website, Foldscope was “invented by Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski who asked themselves: What is the best microscope you can build for under $1 in parts? Over 1.5 million of these can be found in the wild, in the hands of children, educators, and citizen scientists around the world — that’s a good thing. 

Foldscope DIY Microscope website screenshot including Images taken with Foldscope.
Foldscope DIY Microscope website screenshot including Images taken with Foldscope

Two More Educator-related Resources

If you do not already know or follow Tom Vander Ark from Getting Smart, he recently posted about Trends Shaping Education in 2022. A worthwhile read that highlights important areas to watch, New Learning Goals including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); Team Tools and Staffing; and Active Learning. 

Speaking of DEI-related content: The Underrepresentation Curriculum (URC) is a free, flexible curriculum for STEM instructors to teach about injustice and change the culture of STEM. Using tools such as data analysis, hypothesis creation, and investigation, students look critically at science through the lenses of equity and inclusion. By comparing the general population to similar data describing scientists, students can explore issues of social justice in STEM.


May your weekend be filled with many small things that make a difference.

More information about the first post image – although it is not specifically a nano or microtechnology image, I will claim Feynman’s quote – nature does not know about our divisions of courses and fields of study, so this work may influence an area of nanotechnology at some point in the future. More so, this curation effort will feature a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topics that you may find spurs a new idea or direction in your research or classroom. 

Water droplet levitates in the Leidenfrost state

A water droplet levitates 80 microns above a hot surface heated past water’s boiling point in the Leidenfrost state. [Research supported by U.S. National Science Foundation grant DMR 1455086.] Learn more in the Emory University news story New method reveals minimum heat for levitating drops.

An earlier post about Foldscope was published at Medium.  

Nanotechnology: Lessons from Nature – Discoveries, Research, and Applications

The world around us provides enormous opportunities for understanding science. Arguably, it has been one of humankind’s greatest inspirations for many, if not most, inventions, art, and other creations. Nature offers us specific nanotechnology lessons and is the subject of a new book from Morgan & Claypool Publishers. Nanotechnology: Lessons from Nature — Discoveries, Research, and Applications, by Deb Newberry of Newberry Technology Associates, will be published later this month.

Book Cover: Deb-Newberry-Nanotechnology-Lessons-From-Nature
Nanotechnology: Lessons from Nature — Discoveries, Research, and Applications, by Deb Newberry

This new book covers 21 different phenomena that have been observed in nature and puzzled about for decades. Diving into five ecosystems— the ocean, insects, flora, fauna, and humans — Newberry offers observations to help readers understand the relationship between the more easily observed macro level and understanding what is found at the nanoscale.

The book summary points out how “the development of microscopes and other tools allow us to study, evaluate, and test these observed phenomena at the molecular and atomic scale… From the strength of a marine sponge found at the depths of the oceans, to the insect-hydroplaning surface of the edge of a plant, to the intricacies of the eyes of a moth, nanotechnology has allowed science to define and understand these amazing capabilities. In many cases, this new understanding has been applied to products and applications that benefit humans and the environment.”  

This book is for sale in the retail market on all major platforms and can be purchased directly from Morgan & Claypool Publishers here. It is also available to institutions with access to Synthesis Digital Library Collection 11 here. This is the second book they have published by Ms. Newberry, the first being titled Nanotechnology Past and Present: Leading to Science, Engineering, and Technology (2020).

Deb Newberry, Founder and CEO of Newberry Technology Associates, is a consultant to the MNT-EC. She has been involved with research, emerging technology, and nanotechnology for several decades. She served as the Director/Instructor of the Nanoscience Technician program at Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount MN from 2004–2018. She created the 72-credit nanoscience technician program in 2003 and began the program with National Science Foundation funding. Deb also served as the Director and Principal Investigator of the Center for Nanotechnology Education, Nano-Link, for 10-plus years with over $12M from the National Science Foundation. 

If you want to learn more about how nature and nanotechnology go together, you can also check out the NNCI page: Nature Helps Technology. The National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), established in 2015, is supported by 16 individual cooperative agreements from the National Science Foundation. NNCI is also an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Partner with MNT-EC. 

Top Nanotechnology Experts and Organizations on Twitter

Twitter logo on smartphone next to cup of espresso

Social media is a great way to keep up with the news. Well, mostly. Sometimes it can be a distraction, too. To make platforms like Twitter pay off, we are compiling a big list of the people (link at end of post) in Nanotechnology and Microtechnology (MicroNano) that you may want to follow to keep up with specific developments and trends.

Scroll through this list and then to the end for ways to contact us with your favorites.


The Story Collider @storycollider. True, personal stories about science. Podcast | Shows | Storytelling Workshops. Although this account is not MicroNano specific, it does offer some wonderful stories about science, scientists and their journeys.


nanoHUB @nanoHUBnews. Online simulation, research, collaboration, teaching, learning, and publishing. Free accounts, free access to over 6,500 resources including simulation tools. nanoHUB is also a partner here at MNT-EC.


Nanotechnology News @Nanowerk. Nanowerk – for all things #nanotechnology plus loads of daily news and updates on emerging technologies #smarttechnologies.


Nano Statistics @StatNano. A gateway to the latest statistics in nano-based Science, Technology and Industry. #Nanotechnology #NanoStatistics #Nano.


NNI @NNInanonews Official Twitter feed for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. NNI is a MNT-EC partner.


Nature Nano @NatureNano. A journal that covers all aspects of nanoscale science and technology.


Nano Letters @NanoLetters. Fundamental research in all branches of the theory and practice of nanoscience and nanotechnology.


AZoNano @AZoNano. The latest nanotechnology news, applications, and equipment from some of the biggest companies in the nanotechnology industry. 


Nanotechnology @Nanotechnology. Nanotechnology News as it Happens.


Students and Citizen Scientists using the Foldscope

Foldscope @TeamFoldscope. We are the makers of Foldscope, the original paper microscope! Working to globally expand access to microscopy & the wonder of science. I liked their main page image so much I had to include it here (just above the listing) — it is just terrific to see so many young scientists (and older “citizen scientists”) gaining access to observe a world so often unseen.


3D Printing Industry @3dprintindustry. Leading source for #3DPrinting news & information – industry reports, business directory, jobs board, and more. Editorial Note: This publication often includes news about how #nanotechnology and #3D intersect. Hat tip to Dr. Ismail Fidan at Tennessee Tech for reminding me about this terrific resource. You can check out two recent articles on Nanomagnets here and here.


SustainableNano @SustainableNano. Tweets of the NSF Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology: nanotech, sustainability, & life in science. (Opinions our own, etc.)


Institute for Nano-Engineered Systems @UWNanoES. Catalyzing innovative, interdisciplinary, & industry-relevant research in the fabrication & integration of scalable #nanotech @UW. Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2n45mQu


The National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) @nanomfgnet is an alliance of academic, government, and industry partners cooperating to advance nanomanufacturing in the US.


Get in Touch!

Feel free to reach out to TJ McCue on Twitter to share resources and people that we should consider for this post. He also maintains a Twitter list that you can follow: Top Nanotechnology Experts and Organizations on Twitter. If you were wondering where all the “people” were in this post, that list is growing too large to include here, so you can visit the Twitter list to find the rest.

Scholarships Available For Arizona Students Interested In Nanotechnology Careers

Rick Vaughn at Rio Salado College is encouraging Arizona residents to think small. Small as in nanotechnology size small. Smaller than you can see with the naked eye. Thanks to recent NSF (National Science Foundation) funding, the school is offering scholarships that will cover half the cost for a nanotechnology certificate.  

With an above-average national median salary of $40,500, Nanotechnology and semiconductor technicians are in demand, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are an Arizona resident, these scholarships are aimed at you. 

If you are not an Arizona resident, visit the Nanotechnology Jobs – A Resource Guide that includes links to a variety of programs and statistics: “According to CareerExplorer.com, “there are currently an estimated 132,500 nanotechnology engineers in the United States. The nanotechnology engineer job market is expected to grow by 6.4% between 2016 and 2026.” The top states for Nanotechnology Engineer jobs are also listed in the post.

Read more about the Rio Salado College Nanotechnology Scholarships below:

“Nanotechnology embodies everything that has to do with engineering, chemistry, biology and science, and then puts them together with technology to form something that’s new and different,” said Dr. Rick Vaughn, Rio Salado College Faculty Chair for STEM initiatives.

According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative, nanotechnology touches many of us through a variety of consumer products such as eyeglasses, computer screens, cosmetics, clothes, digital storage, tires, paint, lasers and airplane coatings.

Rio Salado recently received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to train 30 students and help increase the employee pool for the nanotechnology industry. Rio Salado is offering five $780 scholarships that will cover half the cost of the 6-course nanotechnology certificate program.

Visit here for more details on how you can apply: Scholarships Available to Help Launch Nanotechnology Careers.