Random Small _2023 Year Ahead

Thanks to those of you who have supported and lifted up the MNT-EC site and this news section, for sharing on social media and telling your peers about us. Lots of you are spending more time on our MNT-EC LinkedIn page and that’s, well, incredibly awesome. See a couple of images from the page just below.

We’d like to tell you about our favorite email newsletters and celebrate two of our partners this month:

Greentown Labs in Massachusetts is the nation’s leading incubator/accelerator for startups solving the climate crisis through entrepreneurship and collaboration. Their newsletter is a powerful curation of what’s happening in climate tech, materials, nanotechnology, and way more. The most recent newsletter profiles that the Prince and Princess of Wales paid them a visit.

Kavli Nanoscience Institute knows how to put together a nano-packed newsletter each quarter. You definitely want to subscribe to this one. It is their cool image just below that also served as a LinkedIn post with links to a photo gallery here on Think Small. You should check out the 2022 news roundup from Kavli here.

Based at Arizona State University, NCI Southwest serves as the Southwest hub of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) and encompasses six collaborative research facilities. Their newsletter is loaded with info from the ASU NanoFab, the Eyring Materials Center, Advanced Electronics and Photonics (AEP) Core Facility, the Center for the Life Cycle of Nanomaterials (LCNano), the ¡MIRA! Center at NAU, and the User Facility for the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology.

This image from Kavli Nanoscience Institute (1,200+ views and 31 visits) and below that, one from a Hong Kong 3D printing startup captivated your attention (1,700+ views and 36 visits — glad to know we have some ocean lovers in our midst).

And here’s the Hong Kong 3D Printed Coral Reef startup image on CBS News.

Again, both of these posts are on our LinkedIn Page.

Do you have some images you would like to share?? Drop me a note: TJ@MicroNanoEducation.org

Nanotechnology Images from Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech

Just shared this on our Micro Nanotechnology (MNT-EC) LinkedIn page and thought you might appreciate seeing the full sized gallery.

Image 3 was taken with an optical microscope. (Steven Wood, Painter Lab, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Caltech)

Images 1, 2 and 3: Images of the same quantum transducer device. Fabricated using eight layers of electron beam lithography and five different material platforms. Images 1 and 2 were taken with the Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope.

Images 1, 2 and 3: Images of the same quantum transducer device (Closeup). Fabricated using eight layers of electron beam lithography and five different material platforms. Images 1 and 2 were taken with the Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope.

Random Small _NASA Astronaut Tech, Scholarships, Vacuum Workshop

Kristine Davis, a spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, wearing a ground prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU), is seen during a demonstration of the suit, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The xEMU suit improves on the suits previous worn on the Moon during the Apollo era and those currently in use for spacewalks outside the International Space Station and will be worn by first woman and next man as they explore the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program.  Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Thanks for reading our monthly email update, if that’s how you found this post. If you found us by digging into our website and the Think Small news and blog section, we are so glad you found us. “Random Small” is a monthly catch-all post for the latest happenings here at the Micro Nano Technology Education Center and in our wider, bigger community of scientists of all types. 

You probably noticed two distinct images — one of an astronaut (just above), and another of a website logo for Skype a Scientist. 

First, in the monthly MNT Update, I mentioned how NASA technology often gets transferred outside of NASA into commercial enterprises that license it for new products. This article, Feeling Hot, Staying Cool, is a powerful example of how that works. It highlights the work of a new company, London-based Fifty One Ltd, which is “using a temperature-controlling material developed in part under an SBIR from Johnson Space Center for spacesuit gloves, Fifty One of London is making clothes to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.”

Screenshot of the Fifty One company and project with menopause clothing that is based on the NASA phase change material technology. Image is from the NASA Spinoff website.

Since women make up half the world’s population, there is a lot of need and opportunity (as in billions of people) for materials scientists to work on these phase change materials to find solutions. 

In fact, NASA has an entire microsite dedicated to technology transfer called Spinoff and it includes an annual report, of sorts, that highlights the many advances that power our world. 

By the way, if you are not yet subscribed to our email community, please visit this signup page. We would love to have you join us, contribute to our efforts, and connect.

Let’s jump to Skype A Scientist because it is so fun and energetic and something you can use in your classrooms or perhaps sign up to help out. From their website: “The mission of Skype a Scientist is simple, yet impactful: to make science accessible and fun through personal connections with scientists. We are an educational entity with a focus on connecting the general public with scientific disciplines in fun and meaningful ways, making science education available and engaging for everyone…” 

The Skype A Scientist Instagram page is worth a follow, too. Here’s a sample YouTube videos of a wonderful talk with a brain scientist at the University of Washington. Love Sydney’s enthusiasm. Plus, we’re hoping to interview Dr. Sarah McAnulty, Squid Biologist​, and Executive Director of Skype A Scientist.

Sydney Floryanzia is a first-year Ph.D. student in the department of chemical engineering at the University of Washington (UW). Her research involves investigating the blood-brain barrier, drug delivery to the brain, and therapies for degenerative brain diseases.

There are two new scholarship opportunities for STEM-oriented students. These will be added to our Micro Nano Scholarship page later this week, but to give you the absolute latest, cutting edge, head start information we’re putting them here and on our MNT LinkedIn Page (which you seriously might want to follow, but no pressure, of course. Not much pressure…).

  • The DOD Historically Black Colleges and Universities & Minority-Serving Institutions (HBCU/MI) Summer Research Internship Program is an annual summer research program offered to current students and recent graduates who studied STEM disciplines at HBCU/MI.

The last item, but certainly a great opportunity and worth sharing with your networks (not so subtle hint..): Check out the High Vacuum System Operation Basics Workshop at Normandale Community College coming up next week on two separate days, Monday Dec 12 and again on Wednesday, Dec 14.

Temple Grandin Podcast -How Did You Think Of That- Interviews Jared Ashcroft

Screenshot of Utah STEM Action Center Podcast Page called How'd You Think of That hosted by Temple Grandin

Heading into the weekend which for some is going to turn into vacation for the holiday week — here is a great podcast for you in those quiet days pre-post holiday meals. Our MNT Center Director, Dr. Jared Ashcroft, was rather quiet/humble about being interviewed by the well-known Temple Grandin for the first season of a new podcast out of the STEM Action Center in Utah.  

Listen to How’d You Think of That? Temple Grandin interviews Jared Ashcroft entitled: All the Good Teachers.

Temple and Jared discussed the role community colleges can play in supplying a steady STEM workforce, where the education system falls short, and how it can improve outcomes for students. Definitely worth a listen! Way to go, Dr. Ashcroft.

ASEE Videos on Future for Micro and Nanotechnology Technicians

The Micro Nanotechnology Education Center at Pasadena City College was highlighted within the official broadcast at this year’s American Association for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference. The video was presented as a case study and documentary of what MNT-EC and its students are doing in various programs, internships, and research opportunities.

MNT Center Director, Dr. Jared Ashcroft closes out the video explaining how the MNT-EC is working toward pulling together the different institutions, community colleges, universities, industries, and nonprofits, to get them working together. “The goal is to have the Micro Nanotechnology Education Center working as the glue that pulls all of these institutions together,” he said.

Here is the full 5 minute video (5 min, 41 seconds to be precise).

And here is the 60-second-ish trailer if you need the quick version:

Learn more about ASEE and the annual conference.

MNT-EC Partners with National Registered Apprenticeship Program

Caption: National Institute for Innovation and Technology and the Micro Nanotechnology Education Center partner for apprenticeships.

The National Institute for Innovation and Technology (NIIT) and the Micro Nanotechnology Education Center (MNT-EC) today announced a collaboration focused on workforce development for the semiconductor sector and nanotechnology-related industries. 

With the agreement, MNT-EC colleges will have access to NIIT’s National Talent Hub, which connects employers, education providers, job seekers and individuals looking to improve related skills. Colleges will be able to use the Talent Hub free of charge to ensure courses align with industry requirements and give their students access to the service’s job portal.

Students enrolled in MNT-EC programs will be eligible for “learn-and-earn” opportunities through NIIT’s Growing Apprenticeships in Nanotechnology and Semiconductors (GAINS) Registered Apprenticeship Program. NIIT has the exclusive, 5-year contract to expand the use of Registered Apprenticeships in the strategic supply chains of semiconductors and nanotechnology, which includes biomanufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and clean energy, among others.

You can read the full national press release here.

Random Small

November 1, 2022 Update:

#1: The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) 2023 conference will be held April 13-15, 2023 on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus in Eau Claire, WI. The conference abstract submission window runs from October 3 to November 30, 2022.

NCUR is seeking volunteers to review abstracts submitted to the NCUR 2023 conference. They expect this review work to occur during the December 2022 timeframe, following the November 30 abstract submission deadline.

Anyone interested to serve as a reviewer should visit the Abstract Reviewers Wanted page, from there you can go to the Reviewer Signup page. Reviewers will be required to create a new account within the conference submission system if they do not already have one.

#2: Learn about the new NSF workforce development program TODAY, Nov 1 at 12PM Pacific time.

The U.S. National Science Foundation launched a new $30 million workforce development program, Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies, or ExLENT earlier this month. 

Learn more about the program by joining the Introduction to ExLENT webinar
on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. E.T.

Register for the Webinar
Click the link above left to register for this webinar.

ExLENT offers workforce development opportunities to help individuals gain valuable work experience in emerging technology areas such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum information science, and semiconductors and microelectronics. With awards of up to $1 million over three years, the program will promote partnerships between organizations in emerging technology fields and those with expertise in workforce development. 

ExLENT proposals are due March 2, 2023. For more information, visit Experiential Learning for Emerging and Novel Technologies (ExLENT).

#3: Sometimes the Think Small team is drinking from a firehose and cannot keep up… You can check out THREE New Scholarship and Internship opportunities linked below. BUT they will also be added to the Scholarship page in the Students & Families section by November 2, in case you want to share that page with students and faculty you know. Hint, hint.

  1. Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education
  2. 2023 MSTP Summer Scholars
  3. Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC)

October 3, 2022 Update:

The news section you are in right now is called Think Small. It is where we publish various news-oriented content; something that demands a longer article usually. But we have not had a way to collect and curate the many cool things that you – MNT partners, members, educators and students, and others, occasionally want to share.

Welcome to the new series I’m tentatively calling “Random Small” to provide us with a bucket, and I mean that in the most positive way, in which to put these important, but shorter tips, job or internship postings, upcoming events that we didn’t have a chance to get on the calendar (yet), and other, well, random items that need a home. You get the idea and here’s a few for this first post.

  • Normandale Community College is considering offering an 8-week section of its “Foundations of Vacuum Science” online course (VACT 1010). This course is designed for individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a technician whose role it will be to support maintenance and troubleshooting of vacuum systems. The start date for this class would be Monday, October 17th, and the class would conclude by mid-December.
    • If you have a prospective student or others in your networks, especially organizational contacts. They can contact Kim Klein (Kimberly.Klein@normandale.edu) if interested in this class. Kim will be able to help them with the registration process.

  • Every year the NNCI has the “Plenty of Room at the Bottom” photo contest. Lots of great entries and if you receive our email newsletter, then you saw the hedgehog photo, which was a Most Whimsical winner from last year, which is from:Artist: Evgeniya Moiseeva, Huson Lab, University of Louisville. Tool: Thermo Scientific Apreo C SEM. Description: Solidified droplets of Gold on the side of the E-Beam evaporation ceramic crucible.

  • On our MNT LinkedIn page, you will find updates on colleagues, job listings, internship and apprenticeship opportunities, and more. Plus, as you’ve read above, we’re trying to include many of those items here on Random Small. The linked post takes you to a recent University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering job for a  Nanofabrication Lab Technician.
    • Note: We are considering a jobs/internship/career-oriented email on a 2 to 4 times per month basis. If you are interested, drop TJ an email. Again, we do post some of these on LinkedIn.

  • The MNT Calendar has the latest workshops and professional development webinars that you may find informative or worth sharing with your students and colleagues. 

  • more tk


TJ McCue, Editor

P.S. Feel free to drop me an email note if there’s something you think we should know about.

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.