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.

Invite a Female Nanoscientist or Engineer into your Classroom for Women’s History Month 2023

We will be updating this page with more resources, but for now, click this form to sign up for this wonderful opportunity from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. Below is a summary of their email.

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American [Aviation, Inc.]'s Inglewood, Calif., plant digital file from original transparency. Palmer, Alfred T., photographer. Created / Published 1942 October. In honor of Women's History Month.

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American [Aviation, Inc.]’s Inglewood, Calif., plant digital file from original transparency.

Palmer, Alfred T., photographer. Created / Published 1942 October.

In honor of Women’s History Month, from the Women’s History Month website.

Celebrate Women’s History Month in a unique way by inviting a female nanoscientist or nanoengineer to virtually visit your classroom!

Fill out this Google Form to get a scientist to visit your classroom —

Click the Google Form link right above to be paired with a scientist who will talk about their exciting career paths and how they use nanotechnology to solve problems. First-come, first-served, so sign up now for a one-hour virtual session in March. Inspire your students and add value to your teaching experience with this exciting opportunity!

Celebrating Two Special History Months in Micro- Nanotechnology

We want to acknowledge the significant impact of Black and Women scientists and leaders on the world and on American culture as we celebrate Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Feel free to drop us a note with any additional Black History Month resources we can include (my email address was in the latest email inviting you here). Special thanks to Professor Maajida Murdock for her tip to share the list from Interesting Engineering

UPDATE: My link to the Library of Congress is not showing even though I thought I placed it in the photo meta data. Well, here it is: Poor People’s March 1968.

Please DO NOT MISS the special invitation below for K-12 teachers for Women’s History Month from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. It promises to be amazing. Scroll down to see the details and the Google form link

Rosa Parks at the 1968 Poor Peoples March at Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial, [Washington, D.C.]

Black History Month Resources

If you need photos for your classroom, check out three Black History Month galleries on Unsplash — a copyright-free image site. You can read about their license details here.

A photographer on Unsplash did a wonderful job of colorizing the historic Rosa Parks photo from the Library of Congress that we used above, check it out.

If you liked that large background image in the email, it comes from the NSF Special Virtual Backgrounds page.

Women’s History Month 2023 for Nanotechnology and Science

We will be updating this page with more resources, but for now, do not miss this wonderful opportunity from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. Here is a summary of their email (which I can send to you, in full, if you email me – hint it is in the last email that got you here).

Celebrate Women’s History Month in a unique way by inviting a female nanoscientist or nanoengineer to virtually visit your classroom!

Fill out this Google Form

Click the Google Form link right above to be paired with a scientist who will talk about their exciting career paths and how they use nanotechnology to solve problems. First-come, first-served, so sign up now for a one-hour virtual session in March. Inspire your students and add value to your teaching experience with this exciting opportunity!

Random Small – Sharks and More Sharks

Welcome to Random Small, our collection of stuff that is happening each month at the Micro Nano Education Technology Center – MNT-EC. Yes, there is a bit of a theme these last two issues around the ocean. That will shift next month as we go explore Climate Change here on earth. We did Space in December (link below), if you missed it with our NASA post.

Plus, read the next section if you want to know more about how we can help you grow your online and social media presence.

This month, let’s cut to the chase (pun intended) with this wickedly cool scholarship opportunity –FOR- Teachers/Educators to head to the Bahamas and the island of South Bimini (just across the Gulf Stream). Learn more about the Bimini Shark Lab and its Teacher Course.

Editor’s Note: I met Doc Gruber, the founder of the Shark Lab, two decades ago while on Bimini doing a wild dolphin research project. I had a passion for sharks after many years of diving and he welcomed me into his lab for an afternoon. He passed away a few years ago, but his constant enthusiasm and dedication to protecting this often misunderstood fish became his legacy to science.

Also, the shark has inspired many nano and micro research projects — from its skin structure for movement/drag purposes to attaching nanoparticles to skin, to attack bacteria, among many others. Science educators will have all sorts of stories to help people understand sharks and their contribution to science. Let us know if you apply.

Students! Don’t worry, we have plenty of scholarship goodness for you right here. Screenshot shows how to get there in two clicks if you do not want to click the link above, which goes to the exact same place. Note: We add scholarships all the time and are happy to hear from you if your school has one for the Microtechnology Nanotechnology students here.

MNT-EC Community Social Media Push

Some of you do not like to participate, that is okay. We understand. This post is for those of you who do. I promise I am about to answer the age-old question – “What’s in it for me?” in about 30 seconds. 

I have been working on a new section here on Think Small and it is about our favorites. 

We want your quotes, your internet favorites (memes, even), your favorite newsletters, your favorite photos (micro, nano, materials, classroom projects), your favorite links, and maybe even your own brilliant favorite thoughts.

  • Podcasts? We want ‘em. Ologies just hit my radar and I’m digging it. Hat tip to Christine Girtain, NJ Teacher of the Year for that one!
  • YouTube channels? Yes, please.
  • Web pages you have been saving in your bookmarks? Send ‘em over.

I think you get the idea. 

Submit any and all of those ideas and if we can use them, we will. We would love to add you to the list and promote the work you’re doing. We cannot promise we will publish what you send, well, because some of you are a bit crazy and might submit the wildest things that are not safe for work. Just sayin’. That’s the caveat/disclaimer — we can’t guarantee we will use what you send us. But we’ll try. Or we’ll call your Mom and tell her to tell you to tone it down. 😉

We are doing a major social media push in February and March. We’d love for you to be part of it and boost your own presence, too. When you get in touch, please include the links to your social profiles.

Seriously now, what’s in it for me?

So, what’s in it for me?

Well, sweetheart, we’re going to put your name up in tiny LED lights, that’s what’s in it for you. We have a network of folks who are quite active online and many of them believe in the idea, as I do, of lifting one another up. A small group of us are going to be doing that moving forward. Join up now.

This is a call to action in case you didn’t catch it. If you’re active on social media, on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram, or even some of the others, we want to help increase your Social profile and presence. So drop us a line with the above faves and we’ll do our best to highlight and Shout Out the cool things you’re working on. 

You can simply reply to the email newsletter and we’ll get your input. Or drop a note or comment on the MNT LinkedIn page.



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.