MNT-EC Student Wins Award at SACNAS

Cal Poly student and Pasadena City College alum, Tan Nguyen, recently garnered the Best Poster Presentation Award in the General Chemistry Category at the 2023  Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Diversity in STEM Conference held in Portland, Oregon. 

MNT-CURN Chemistry Pasadena City College Alum Tan Nguyen Wins SACNAS Award with Research on Gold Nanoparticles

As a MNT-EC student, Nguyen’s award-winning presentation delved into the intricate world of gold conjugate nanoparticles, showcasing the innovative strides being made in the field.

View some photos of the conference day below. At the end of this post, you will find the full PDF poster (and a link to download it) and the text abstract. 


Tan Nguyễn Chemistry

Tan Nguyen wins the best chemistry poster award at SACNAS

Understanding Electronic Properties of Gold Nanoparticles and Antibody-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles For Use in Photothermal Cancer Medicine Abstract:

“Gold (Au) nanoparticles have been known as excellent nanomaterial candidates in multiple biomedical applications and cancer treatments including drug delivery, biomedical imaging and photothermal therapy due to their unique properties and non-cytotoxic effects on human bodies. Streptavidin is a protein isolated from the bacterium Streptomyces Avidinii that can covalently bind to the surface of Au nanoparticles to facilitate the delivery of Au nanoparticles to cancer cells for treatment. However, the electronic properties of the Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles on a molecular level are not well understood. In this study, we examine how the conjugation with Streptavidin antibody alters the electron energy profile of the Au nanoparticles through electron excitation in order to shed light on the molecular and chemical characteristics of Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles. We synthesized Au nanoparticles at Yin lab at UC Riverside and measured the absorbance values of Au nanoparticles and Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles from 400 to 650nm. We then conducted the Ultrafast Femtosecond Laser technique to capture the electron kinetics of Au and Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles after 1,2,3,4, and 5 picosecond of excitation. We found that there was a little discrepancy between the peaks of Au and Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles in terms of absorbance, and electrons in the Streptavidin-conjugated Au nanoparticles were excited and returned to the ground state faster than the non-conjugated Au nanoparticles. These results suggested that the conjugation with Streptavidin proteins affects the electronic properties of Au nanoparticles, which can allow scientists to further optimize these conjugated molecules to support photothermal medicine for cancer treatments.”


The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) awarded over one hundred graduate and undergraduate students from historically excluded communities for their research and presentation skills at their premier event, the National Diversity in STEM Conference held in Portland from October 26 through October 28, 2023. Student research presentations help equip young researchers with the skills and mentoring they need to be successful on their STEM journey. This experience helps them refine presentation skills, receive one-on-one mentoring and feedback on research, and connect with a supportive community of peers, mentors, and role models. 

You can read about all of the presentations and posters in the SACNAS Abstract Book

The Nanoscale World of Matt Feyerheisen and the Power of SEM Technology

Note: MNT-EC recently teamed up with Wingspans, an exciting new career platform, to connect with more community college technician programs. Links and more info below. 

Embark on a microscopic journey with Matt Feyerheisen, a Field Engineer at Nanoscience Instruments, where the unseen becomes seen through the lens of Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs). 

With a background spanning from visual communication to microelectronics, Matt’s role is pivotal in examining the elemental composition of materials down to the electron level. SEMs, capable of magnifying objects a million times, are instrumental in industries from pharmaceuticals to aerospace, ensuring the integrity of products that shape our daily lives.

Matt highlights the diversity of applications: “You can’t really see the details of what I do because they’re so small… a human hair is 70 microns wide… One micron is a millionth of a meter.” His work ensures that the gap between contacts in computers is sufficient to prevent short circuits, a critical aspect of our digital world.

The job isn’t just about magnification; it’s about precision and problem-solving. Matt shares an anecdote: “There was one client where we had to take their machine in because there was a problem… it looked like a piano wire was wound around some type of pedestal.” It’s this meticulous attention to detail that ensures the reliability of equipment used in critical research and development across various sectors.

For potential students and enthusiasts, Matt’s journey is a testament to the ever-evolving field of nanotechnology, where learning never ceases, and every tiny detail can lead to a giant leap in innovation. His story is a compelling invitation to explore a world where the smallest elements make the biggest impact.

Matt earned a certificate through Rio Salado, an MNT-EC Partner, and his full profile is highlighted on the Wingspans website for any of our community to read or listen to the audio MP3 file on site (click through just below Matt’s photo “Listen to Profile” on the Wingspans site). 

Read the full post: Wingspans: Matt Feyerheisen

More on Wingspans from their website: 

“Wingspans takes an immersive approach to career discovery just short of experiencing the job yourself. It’s an archive of authentic and heartfelt career stories—nothing scripted or sugar-coated. If you can see it, you can be it.

–Wingspans website

The site has 700+ in-depth career stories, including 40+ mini-documentaries, that are integrated into over 10,000 pages on our site.

This is an early look at one of the community college posts via our brief summary, but we hope you go visit the public Wingspans page for the full and energizing story about Matt Feyerheisen here.

Inspiring students with nanotechnology

One of our partners, Dr. Matthias W. Pleil, Principal Investigator – SCME, Research Professor and Lecturer, University of New Mexico was recently interviewed for the National Nanotechnology Initiative podcast. 

Listen to the full episode here: Inspiring curiosity, creativity, and action in students with nanotechnology

Unleashing the Potential of Community Colleges: A Collaborative Path Forward

>>Article by Dr. Jared Ashcroft<<

Update: ASEE TV video at end with Dr. Ashcroft and students exploring fields of micro, nano, and science.

We find ourselves at a unique crossroads in the realm of higher education. A labor shortage stares us in the face, opening up a dangerous chasm between education and workforce requirements. We need to rewrite the training rules for manufacturing technicians and beyond to stop this shortage.

Jared Ashcroft

The Looming Labor Gap and the Unsung Heroes

The CHIPS and Science Act predicts a 100,000-worker shortage soon. With this labor challenge in front of us, community colleges, long the unsung heroes of higher education, stand poised to play a pivotal role in molding the future workforce. I suggest a path based on the current work the National Institute of Standards and Technology at the Department of Commerce is doing nationally.

NIST recently laid out a 30-page Vision and Strategy for regional National Semiconductor Technology Centers to support and extend U.S. leadership in semiconductor research, which includes guidance on technician opportunities. Thanks to numerous experts from industry, higher education, and others, this vision document presents the framework we need.

As government agencies, industry leaders, and educational institutions unite, we must build a genuine working alliance that includes community colleges and schools that historically have specialized in training technician-oriented specialties, such as semiconductor technicians.

Community colleges offer an early range of technical education, from associate degrees to shorter-term certificate programs. We want to seriously consider the educational foundation that will most benefit the student and the companies that hire them so that they are able and ready to continue developing skills, durable skills also known as “soft skills,” if and when they continue additional degree programs. By the way, most companies have cited on-the-job training and short-term certificates as essentials. At the same time, executives lament that students need those durable soft skills crucial to collaboration and leadership growth.

My suggestion is this: As part of creating the National Semiconductor Technology Center and its regional locations, we also build a national community college consortium to handle the incentives and funding to get more students into technician education. Various semiconductor and advanced manufacturing programs can often exist across state or regional lines, limiting the necessary training a future technician might need.

For example, a student may need to intern in a clean room outside of their state or region, which would jeopardize their scholarship/internship funding rather than having community colleges under eight areas. Just put the incentives program at a national scope level, enabling them to get student funding for technician education. Community colleges can still work with the regional NSTC. Still, they have access to a national group helping to direct and guide a national CC Incentives Consortium (and not have to go to each Regional to get incentives funding).

A National Approach: Bridging Education with Industry

To that end, a paradigm shift is necessary. The status quo of XYZ-generic programs often leans towards producing a labor pool, sometimes ignoring the importance of a holistic educational experience. We need student-focused programs that blend general education with industry-specific boot camps – a balanced education that ensures a firm grounding while nurturing specialized skills. Mind you, we are not suggesting super-short training programs that leave the student in a precarious position, although some of these have successfully built an educational foundation they can depend upon and build out.

A student-focused, national perspective is of the essence. Regional programs have their merits, no doubt. However, it is time to move past geographical constraints and provide opportunities to students from varied backgrounds. Equal access to top-tier education and career opportunities can only happen if we widen our lens – and with a new approach of providing direct funding via scholarships and grants to thousands of students who can become the future semiconductor workforce.

There’s only one path to adding 100,000 workers, funding those potential workers to get adequately trained and options for a brighter future through educational opportunities.

Revolutionizing Community College Education: Collaboration is Key

Organizations like the Micro- Nanotechnology Education Center (MNT-EC) can provide invaluable support in these efforts, serving as connection points to facilitate collaboration between community colleges, research universities, government bodies, and industry heavyweights. By pooling our wisdom and resources, we can revolutionize community college education.

This national approach will also require comprehensive internship programs seamlessly integrated with community college curricula. Sufficient and secure funding from a centralized source will guarantee the effectiveness and accessibility of these programs while also subjecting them to rigorous evaluation. To be blunt, interns need enough income to make an opportunity less of a stepping stone out of a company and more of a launching pad within a company that has granted the internships in the first place. It is in the best interest of industry leaders to provide financial support and actively engage with potential future employees from an early stage.

Honest data collection and evaluation for better tracking/measurement, carried out by independent educational research entities, are non-negotiable. Transparency in outcomes is crucial, as is using data to make informed decisions and refine our community college, training, and internship programs.

Challenges abound regarding collaboration between government agencies, industry leaders, and educational institutions. Competing interests and lack of coordination often obstruct progress. It’s time we identify our strengths, share resources and expertise, and strive to collaborate effectively rather than duplicate efforts.

Community colleges need support systems from a central source that can remove administrative support and infrastructure obstacles when running grants and partnerships. By bolstering these support systems, we can enable community colleges to emerge as powerhouses of educational transformation.

Community colleges should also morph into targeted recruitment sources, linking students with industry opportunities. Again, a central repository and match-making type source could be essential to this recruiting component. By forging strong partnerships with industry, we can ensure students gain relevant hands-on experience, aligning their education with their career goals.

Keeping track of student outcomes for ongoing improvement is paramount. Better data collection and analysis systems are needed. We can harness platforms like LinkedIn to track results and highlight areas that need enhancement.

As we stand at an exciting new frontier of a new era in community college education, we must embrace a collaborative approach that puts students at the center. We can revolutionize community college education by fostering industry-driven, student-focused programs, leveraging collaboration for practical impact, ensuring sustainable funding and stipend support, and prioritizing transparency, evaluation, and research.

This transformation will equip students with the skills they need for the workforce and empower them to thrive in an ever-changing economic landscape. It is a call to action for government agencies, industry leaders, and educational institutions to come together and shape a brighter future for community college students, unlocking their full potential and driving societal progress.

We have a chance to build a future where every student, regardless of background, can access high-quality education and set off on a successful career path. We can tap into the immense transformative power of community colleges and prepare our students for the future’s industries.

Let’s seize this opportunity together.

Many different disciplines are needed in nanotechnology specialties — optics (laser), materials science, semiconductor manufacturing, nanobiology (vaccines), to name a few. This video explores various industry opportunities for students to consider. This video was produced during the ASEE 2022 conference for the Micro Nanotechnology Education Center (MNT-EC) at Pasadena City College.

We shared this video on LinkedIn (more than once) today and if you are interested you can follow our latest news and updates on jobs, internships, scholarships, and other useful info from the #nano and #micro community.

The Making of an Intel Chip

Check out this captivating virtual journey deep into Intel’s cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing facilities, where the technological engines driving our digital world are brought to life.

In this immersive experience, you can move around in a full 360 degrees (for most of the video it is worth moving your mouse around — high speed access and 4K is recommended, but not necessary). The video unveils the astonishing intricacies hidden within clean rooms that are 1,000 times cleaner than the most sterile hospital operating environments. Get an up-close view of the state-of-the-art, multimillion-dollar machinery that is essential for crafting the microchips powering our modern era. And for the truly adventurous, take a virtual spin along the automated superhighways that whisk silicon wafers through this sprawling technological labyrinth. [Remember – you can drag your mouse left, right, up, down.]

Intel Newsroom Video via YouTube 2023

What makes this tour even more fascinating is Intel’s pivotal role in addressing the surging global demand for semiconductors. As our world continues to depend on technology, the demand for these microprocessors skyrockets. Intel, with its history and advanced manufacturing prowess, is positioned to meet the need for chips. 

As most MNT-EC Think Small readers know, the importance of ensuring a robust, sustainable, and secure semiconductor supply chain is paramount. To achieve this, in tandem with Intel and many other semiconductor manufacturers, we’re seeking to keep you updated on micro- nanotechnology programs across the USA with our community college partners (and we’re here to help them as they build new programs and need curriculum guidance and materials — if you are an educator or an administrator, you can learn more about our recent Intro to Nano Canvas course here). 

Intrigued by the latest in technology and its transformative potential? You can peruse our MNT site, of course. You can also visit the Intel Newsroom which shares groundbreaking technology news  covering developments in client computing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data centers, and international news. 

MNT-EC Evaluators Recognized Nationally

The Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) recently celebrated a significant achievement, with three of its evaluators being recognized nationally for their exceptional work. Terryll Bailey, Dr. Jalil Bishop, and Dr. Antar Tichavakunda have been instrumental in shaping the MNT-EC program, providing invaluable insights and recommendations that have helped the center excel in its mission.

Terryll Bailey, the founder and president of The Allison Group, brings over 20 years of experience in workforce development research and evaluation. Her firm specializes in external evaluation for numerous National Science Foundation projects and centers, including the MNT-EC. Bailey’s collaborative approach to evaluation has been crucial in integrating evaluative thinking into the project, focusing on evidence of impact on individuals and organizations.

Dr. Jalil Bishop, a critical qualitative scholar, has expertise in college affordability, student debt, anti-racist policymaking, and the racialized geography of life opportunity. His work on developmental evaluations has been instrumental in shaping the MNT-EC’s approach to equity and inclusion. As the principal investigator of the first national study on Black student debt, Dr. Bishop brings a unique perspective to the evaluation team.

Dr. Antar Tichavakunda, an Assistant Professor of Race and Higher Education at the University of California Santa Barbara, brings a wealth of knowledge in urban education policy. His research on college readiness, Black students’ experiences at predominantly White institutions, and the sociology of race and higher education has been invaluable in shaping the MNT-EC’s approach to diversity and inclusion.

The evaluators’ work has been lauded for its clarity, readability, effective use of visuals, and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Their conclusions and actionable recommendations, well-supported by evidence, have been “essential in informing this program and determining best practices to provide internships that most benefit underrepresented students,” Jared Ashcroft, Principal Investigator, said. 

Jared Ashcroft, PI of MNT-EC, acknowledged the value of the evaluation data, stating, “The MNT-EC evaluation data was essential in informing this program and determining best practices to provide internships that most benefit underrepresented students.” 

The evaluators worked closely with the project team, meeting regularly to discuss evaluation matters. This collaboration likely contributed to the thoroughness and accuracy of the report. They adhered to standards developed by the Joint Committee on Educational Standards and Evaluation, ensuring the ethical collection and analysis of data.

“The external evaluators have collected quantitative and qualitative data to bring numbers, context, and color to our Center’s dissemination efforts.” 

⸺ Peter Kazarinoff, Co-PI of MNT-EC

The value of this comprehensive evaluation to a national center like MNT-EC cannot be overstated. It provides a roadmap for the center, highlighting areas of success and identifying opportunities for improvement. “The way the MNT-EC evaluation report was approached, aligned all activities and results within the framework of the evaluation and its design” according to Mel Cossette, Co-PI of MNT-EC. This feedback is crucial for the center to continue evolving and improving its programs. At a foundational level, this means that the center can better serve its students and the community, ensuring that its programs are effective, inclusive, and impactful.

The MNT-EC is deeply grateful for the evaluators’ contributions, which have not only helped shape the center’s program but also enhanced its ongoing work. Their collaborative efforts across different disciplines and outreach programs have been pivotal in increasing the effectiveness of the program. The MNT-EC is proud to acknowledge the exceptional work of these three evaluators and looks forward to continuing its mission of improving technical education at community colleges.

Specific Highlights from the 2022 Annual Evaluation Report 

  1. Website and Social Media Impact: The MNT-EC’s website and social media platforms have been successful in reaching a broad audience. The website’s traffic compares favorably to two mature national centers, averaging 3,738 users and 15,937 page views in its first year. The LinkedIn posts have also improved significantly, leading to increased impressions and interactions (Page 34).
  2. Center Team and Management: The MNT-EC Center Team, including the PI, Co-PIs, working group leads, and experts from partner institutions, meets monthly to establish their annual goals aligned with the center goal. The Executive Team meets weekly, and the center has made significant progress toward its goals this year, identifying gaps and improving productivity (Page 19).
  3. Advocacy for Systemic Change: PI Ashcroft advocates for systemic changes in technical education, emphasizing the need for more impactful start for students, more funded apprenticeships and internships, and long-term coordinated actions toward solutions. The MNT-EC Center is engaging in this advocacy and inviting other organizations to join in this endeavor (Page 36-37).
  4. Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The MNT-EC has made a transformational approach to recruiting underrepresented minorities by working with existing student organizations that support underrepresented minorities and bringing the program into their existing framework. Over 90% of the students in the URE program are from underrepresented groups, representing eight community college campuses in five states (Page 37-38). The Talking Technician podcast receives special mention in here on Page 38.

Additional Evaluation Technical Details, from the report narrative, for those who want to know:

Their investigative approaches included objective orientation, teaching/learning process orientation, customer orientation, faculty and institutional support, business and industry support, and management. These approaches provided a complete review of the project, ensuring a comprehensive analysis of the project’s implementation, audience reach, user perceptions, resource usage, and systemic change.

The evaluators used evidence-based data to measure outcomes, employing both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods. This approach allowed for a more nuanced understanding of the project’s performance. Their commitment to continuous improvement was evident in their plans to evolve assessment practices and understand the effectiveness of the program better.

Download: MNT-EC Evaluation Report 2021-2022

Special thanks to EvaluATE, ATE Evaluation Resource Hub, for its work in educating evaluators, and others, about evaluation best practices. Their Resource Library is filled with webinars, newsletters, blogs, and information about the ATE annual survey. These materials are open-access. EvaluATE is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number 1841783. This blog post builds partly from their post, linked above on their evaluation award page. 

Semiconductor Jobs – Knowledge Skills and Abilities

What Are KSAs and Why Are They Important for Your Future Career?

As you start exploring different career paths and preparing for your future, you may come across the term “KSAs.” But what exactly are KSAs, and why are they important?

MNT-EC, working with Industry Partners, including the SEMI Foundation and NIIT, created a document to help you navigate the Microsystems Process Technician career pathway.

In this blog post, we’ll break it down for you in simple terms.

What Are KSAs? 

KSA stands for Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities, but are also known as competencies. Companies and schools often create KSAs to help clarify what specific job requirements are, what you will need for a specific role, and ways you can pick the courses to help you develop skills for that career path. Some companies will ask the job candidate to create or answer questions around their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

In a nutshell, these are the attributes and qualities you need for successfully performing a job. They are typically demonstrated through relevant experience, education, or training. Let’s take a closer look at each one, pulling in the definitions from the PDF directly:

  • Knowledge is a body of information applied directly to the performance of a function: How well does a student understand a concept theoretically?

  • Skills are observable competencies needed to perform learned psychomotor acts: How well can a student execute a specific activity?

  • Abilities are competencies to perform an observable behavior or behaviors that results in an observable product: Does the student meet expectations outside of strictly technical expertise?

By combining knowledge, skills, and abilities, you can showcase a well-rounded profile to employers. Building knowledge through learning, acquiring skills through practice, and leveraging your innate abilities create a strong foundation for career growth and success. Assessing and developing your KSAs can help you align with the requirements of your desired field and enhance your potential for professional advancement.

You can review the new MNT-EC KSA document below in the PDF reader, or click the download button to save it to your computer (below the embedded PDF, keep scrolling…).

2023 Barry Goldwater Scholarship Awarded to Two Micro Nano Technology Collaborative Undergraduate Research Network (MNT-CURN) Students 

The Goldwater Scholarship is one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships awarded to students who excel in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. This year, two MNT-CURN students have been awarded the scholarship: Rachael Orkin from Los Angeles Pierce College and Celina Yu from Pasadena City College (PCC).

Gold Nanoparticle illustration/image. Credit: Shikuan Yang, Birgitt Boschitsch Stogin and Tak-Sing Wong, The Pennsylvania State University

Rachael Orkin, a biochemistry major at Pierce (as it is often called), was inspired to pursue the Goldwater Scholarship after learning about it through guest speakers in her MNT-CURN meetings. She decided to apply for the scholarship after Dr. Jared Ashcroft included her in an email about Goldwater mentors who could help her through the process. With a support system that big, Rachael felt it was worth a shot applying for the scholarship.

Rachael has been involved in undergraduate research at Pierce with many opportunities that have validated her choice to pursue pathology and structural biology. She is currently doing research with electronic noses, biomechanic software, and leprosy, with plans to engage in other areas. Rachael is interested in researching how micro- nanotechnologies intersect with medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. She hopes to be a pathologist or clinical geneticist via an MD/PhD path.

Celina Yu, a first-generation college student, was motivated to pursue the Goldwater Scholarship not only for financial reasons but also to push her academic limits. She has been involved in undergraduate research at PCC and wanted to explore what’s out there. Applying for the Goldwater Scholarship was a way for Celina to stay involved and active during her sophomore year of higher education.

Celina recently received her Associates of Arts degree in Natural Sciences at PCC and has decided to concentrate in Biology upon her transfer to a 4-year institution this fall. 

Her love for science is what inspired her to pursue her degree. She wants to create or discover new ways to develop medications or push the limits with novel methods to help others thrive. After her first research experience, Celina realized that she much prefers supporting those fighting on the front lines to help patients rather than going into battle herself. She wants to be part of the development team and supply the needed materials to continue to help people.

For the scholarship, Celina focused on her research involving gold nanoparticles and their use in traditional photothermal therapy. 

She collaborated with the California State University of Northridge and used a custom-built Femtosecond laser to characterize the experimental samples. The subsequent data was analyzed to study the nanoparticle’s electronic transitions, and the concept of a hybrid particle was introduced to bring forth the idea of an alternative route for cancer treatment.

Both Rachael and Celina had mentors who helped them throughout the application process and research experience. 

Rachael would like to thank her campus representative, Dr. Aron Kamajaya, and her application mentors Justice Charnae Robinson and Sophia Barber, as well as her research mentors Dr. Jared Ashcroft, Dr. David Armstrong, and Dr. Brian Pierson. 

Celina would like to acknowledge her mentors Dr. Jared Ashcroft, Dr. Jillian Blatti, Dr. Abdelaziz Boulesbaa, Dr. Yadong Yin, and Kristin M. McPeak for being an amazing campus representative and helping with the official paperwork.

The Goldwater Scholarship is a significant achievement for both Rachael and Celina, and it demonstrates their dedication and passion for their fields of study. Their research has the potential to make a significant impact on society, and we wish them all the best as they continue to pursue their academic and research goals.

You can also read more about Pasadena City College Student Janet Teng Awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2022.

More details on the Barry Goldwater Scholarship here.

Image Detail and Credit:

Credit: Shikuan Yang, Birgitt Boschitsch Stogin and Tak-Sing Wong, The Pennsylvania State University

The featured image is from the NSF multimedia image gallery with research involving gold nanoparticles. 

An artistic illustration showing an ultrasensitive detection platform called SLIPSERS — slippery liquid infused porous surface-enhanced Raman scattering. An aqueous or oil droplet containing gold nanoparticles and captured analytes is allowed to evaporate on a slippery substrate, leading to the formation of a highly compact nanoparticle aggregate for surface enhanced Raman scattering detection.

Researchers at Penn State have developed a new technique that combines the ultrasensitivity of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with a slippery surface. The technique will make it feasible to detect single molecules from a number of chemical and biological species, whether gaseous, liquid or solid. This combination of slippery surface and laser-based spectroscopy will open new applications in analytical chemistry, molecular diagnostics, environmental monitoring and national security.

The research was funded by a U.S. National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program award (grant CMMI 1351462).

Women’s History Month

Women's History Month logo

Women have changed the world and continue to do so.

Some of you may think it was only men who did so, but that would be both inaccurate, and quite limited (one might also say foolish).

When we posted to honor Black History Month (with a bunch of great resources and links), we included a special mention about a Women’s History Month opportunity from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) – Invite a Scientist to Class. If you are a technician or scientist working in the micro or nano fields, please get in touch with NNCO for future chances to share your passion and expertise with young people. We discovered that we needed a new dedicated post to share all the resources.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a big list of resources that can help you plan a lesson or activity that will open up the minds and hearts of your students. Not all of these resources are science or STEM-focused, but every resource here showcases how women continue to impact our lives in all ways.

Women in Science and Technology  |  Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress  |  Library of Congress

The Library of Congress, as one would expect, is packed with resources and lesson plans and so much more for educators at all levels. Here is a direct link to some of the lesson plans: Lesson Plans for Women in Science from the Library of Congress. Plus, here’s another one that’s worth perusing: Women in Science and Technology: A Resource Guide.

Mildred Dresselhaus Prize in Nanoscience or Nanomaterials

Mildred Dresselhaus is known as the “Queen of Carbon Science.” She made pioneering contributions to the study of carbon materials, including carbon nanotubes. She was the first woman to receive the National Medal of Science in Engineering, and was awarded the Kavli Prize in Nanoscience in 2012.

Unladylike2020 | NEH-Edsitement

This National Endowment for the Humanities series called Unladylike is powerful and profound. Their site, EDSITEment has specific science-oriented ones, but the entire 26 part series of animated documentary shorts about UNLADYLIKE2020’s trailblazing heroines is spectacular. They have a dedicated page here where you can scroll through to see each profile, briefly summarized. You can also  watch it here on the American Masters YouTube channel (it has 31 videos).


This organization works to advance women in engineering fields, including nanotechnology. 

Association for Women in Science – AWIS

Provides resources and support for women in science, including nanotechnology, including career development resources, networking opportunities, and information on issues facing women in STEM.

National Girls Collaborative Project

National Girls Collaborative Project: This project is dedicated to increasing the participation of girls in STEM fields, including nanotechnology. Its website provides resources and information for educators and parents, as well as a directory of programs and organizations dedicated to supporting girls in STEM. 

WITI – Women in Technology International

Women in Technology International: This organization provides resources and support for women in technology fields, including nanotechnology. Its website features articles, webinars, and events related to career development and networking opportunities. 

UN Women – Headquarters

UN Women: This website is the official website of the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. It offers news, resources, and information related to women’s rights and gender equality around the world.

ACS Women Chemists Committee

The Committee serves as a forum for women in chemistry and related professions, and works to increase and improve participation of women in the chemical sciences.

Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum

Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative: This initiative aims to “amplify women’s voices, reach new audiences, and empower future generations” through research, exhibitions, and educational programs. The website features online exhibitions, collections, and resources related to women’s history.

Women in STEM! More than 60 Scientists and Engineers for Women’s History Month | Science Buddies Blog

This website offers a variety of science resources and project ideas, including several related to nanotechnology.

National Nanotechnology Initiative

This government agency provides a wealth of information and resources on nanotechnology, including an education and outreach section with lesson plans and educational resources for K-12 and undergraduate students. 

National Museum of Women in the Arts

This museum features the works of female artists from around the world and offers virtual exhibits, educational resources, and virtual events.

Women’s History Month

This site provides resources and information on women’s history, including biographies, videos, and interactive activities. This page offers lesson plans for teachers.

35 Groundbreaking Women From History You Should Know — from Bustle

National Women’s History Alliance

This organization provides a wealth of information and resources on women’s history, including lesson plans, biographies, and historical essays.

Girls Who Code

Offers coding programs for girls and provides resources and support for educators interested in teaching coding to girls.

What Girl Scouts Do

The well-known group has a wide range of educational programs and resources on leadership, entrepreneurship, and STEM fields for girls.

National Women’s Studies Association

Resources and support for women’s studies educators and advocates for the advancement of women’s studies in higher education.

National Women’s History Museum

This museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of women in the United States and provides a wealth of online resources and exhibits.

New Free Ebook on Vacuum Technology

Vacuum systems are essential to various industries, and technicians who can maintain, troubleshoot, and repair them are highly valued. Excellent resources to help them learn and prepare for working with vacuum systems are hard to find. A team of three authors, with a savvy proposal, kept one of these resources alive.

The original author David Hata, Dr. Elena Brewer from Erie Community College (Williamsville, NY), and Nancy Louwagie from Normandale Community College (Bloomington, MN) submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program in consideration of a project which would convert Hata’s textbook to an e-book version.

Click the title to read the new, free E-book, Introduction to Vacuum Technology, from authors: David M. Hata; Elena V. Brewer; and Nancy J. Louwagie.

David Hata’s textbook, Introduction to Vacuum Technology, was first published in 2008, but discontinued in 2019. Without the work of these three, this textbook would be forever out of print. 

Figure_3_9 _Vacuum Technology Ebook _Photo by Dr. Elena Brewer, SUNY Erie Community College

The textbook is suitable for community college-level technician courses. It covers rough and high vacuum systems, leak detection, and residual gas analysis, and includes laboratory exercises. In addition to the exercises, there are plenty of helpful photos and short quizzes at the end of each chapter. The authors focused on the needs of technicians in a production environment and is the result of years of teaching and learning with community college students.

Introduction to Vacuum Technology Chapter Quiz Example

NOTE: You can also read about the upcoming (March 13, 2023) VACT 1010 “Foundations of Vacuum Technology” course at Normandale Community College at this MNT-EC page.