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

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!

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

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.

Vote On Your Favorite Nanotechnology Photo

Did you know there is a National Nanotechnology Day?

On Saturday, October 9th, the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), celebrates National Nanotechnology Day. The 16-member network in locations around the nation began hosting an annual Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom image contest in 2019. This date, 10/9, pays homage to the nanometer scale, 10–9 meters, in case you were wondering how October 9 was picked.

Referencing Richard Feynman’s 1959 lecture, “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” (PDF download of original article), the image contest celebrates the beauty of the micro and nanoscale. Images featured in this contest were produced at one of the 16 NNCI sites during the past two years. You can learn more about the day and many activities suitable for classrooms from

We will highlight some of the winners after the voting period ends. Until then, tune in here for updates and highlights on the various images submitted this year.

Images here and on YouTube are courtesy of the NNCI (contest is over for this year, but the NNCI link to left gets you to the full image list of winners and runners-up. Some amazing photos.

STEM Competitions And Internships Encourage Deeper Learning For Students

If you have wondered how today’s youth, in the USA and around the world, are learning and growing despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, take a look at the many STEM events, competitions, and programs hosted by educational institutions, government agencies, and international organizations. 

In today’s post, we are celebrating the annual Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) event Ignite Off! competition winner Janet Teng, Sophomore at Pasadena City College (PCC). “The Ignite Off! event showcases the talents of interns from participating federal agencies and offices as they share their research through Ignite Talks. Each competitor has five minutes to present their project, using 20 picture-centric slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. Contestants have access to a professional development course that teaches the process for developing an Ignite talk,” according to the ORISE program page.

Janet Teng is an intern at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and has plans for graduate school to explore how engineering and physical sciences intersect and how she can better the lives of others.

From her technical abstract submitted to the ORISE competition: “As corrosion, the natural occurring chemical process of a material degrading over time, continues to result in menacing safety and economic consequences, there is an increased urgency to develop corrosion-resistant materials…” In five brief and intense minutes, she outlined her research and analysis to explain how she used “Atom Probe Microscopy (APM) suite of techniques while coupled with a novel operando mode of analysis developed at PNNL, to map out spatial and temporal chemical reactions with atomic resolution.” Ultimately, by drilling down to the atomic scale, she looked at “the impacts a material’s crystal structure has on surface reaction kinetics which can eventually allow us to bridge the knowledge gap needed to better engineer corrosion-resistant materials for real-world applications.”

Ms. Teng participated in the Community College Internship (CCI) program under the Department of Energy. Her research was at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) with mentors Daniel E. Perea, Sten Lambeets, and Mark Wirth. Her mentor at PCC is Dr. Jared Ashcroft. You can view other ORISE Ignite Off! 2021 finalists and their presentations here.

If you are an educator looking for ideas on Advanced Technological Education, read our recent summary post: HI-TEC Event Opens New Opportunities For Educators In Advanced Tech Education.

New Community College Journal Writing Workshop Starting September 14

With a focus on community college faculty, in particular, technician educators, the new Journal of Advanced Technological Education team is offering an intensive 3-day workshop starting September 14. 

The Journal of Advanced Technological Education serves as a means of communication and provides a platform for people interested in teaching advanced technologies. This includes 2-year college faculty, STEM educators in grades 6-12, graduate school faculty, as well as scientists and industry professionals.

The workshop goal is to prepare community college faculty and ATE project and center staff to submit papers to peer-reviewed journals. This online workshop is led by Peter Kazarinoff, MNT-EC co-PI and faculty at Portland Community College. 

The workshop will cover how peer-reviewed journals work, as well as how to write, submit, review, edit and publish in peer-reviewed journals to advance in your career. Workshop participants will learn how to craft technical papers for peer reviewed journals to help disseminate their work. Stipends available for qualified faculty.

Starting on Tues, Sept 14, 15, 16 at 10am-12 noon PST on Zoom. Register here. There are a total of 16 stipends available, preference will be given to community college instructors if more than 16 participants request stipends. You can also contact Janet Pinhorn directly at janet.pinhorn (insert the @ symbol here)

Interested faculty can also learn more via the Journal of Advanced Technological Education page on the MNT-EC website with a detailed Guide for Authors and for submission templates.

HI-TEC Event Opens New Opportunities For Educators In Advanced Tech Education

Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program, the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC) is a national conference on advanced technological education where secondary and postsecondary educators, counselors, industry professionals, trade organizations, and technicians can update their knowledge and skills. 

Each year, the HI-TEC conference pulls together hundreds of educators and researchers to share the latest methods to help students learn. Although this year’s event, like 2020, was virtual and asynchronous, it brought people and ideas together. 

The Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) contributed several recorded sessions for attendees, as well as downloadable materials to be used in classrooms and projects. Here is a list of them, with links and YouTube videos, where available. Don’t miss the two excellent Keynote talks, listed at the end of this post, with Stanley Black and Decker (yes, the toolmaker) and on Day 2, Jessica Gomez, Founder and CEO of Rogue Valley Microdevices.

Working Technicians Tell Their Stories

This session provided an opportunity for working technicians to share their experiences in attending community and technical college programs that prepare them for their positions. Technicians speak from a virtual setting and discuss their journey from pre-college to career. Topics include the role of math and science in their work; the key knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for success; what worked well or not so well in their technician education; what they wished they had learned in college; and barriers to success and strategies for overcoming them. The working technicians interviewed by Greg are recent graduates of ATE programs. A second video is here.

  • Greg Kepner, Co-PI, MNT-EC (Micro Nano Technology Education Center), Pasadena City College, Ottumwa, IA; 
  • Marilyn Barger, Director, Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, FloridaMakes, Tampa, FL; 
  • Shirley Dobbins, Professor, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, FL

Journal of Micro Nano Technology Education (JMNT-Ed)

The ATE Micro Nano Technology Education Center has just launched the Journal of Micro Nano Technology Education (Powerpoint presentation download). This journal will serve as a communication platform for people interested in teaching the micro nano technology workforce. This includes two-year college faculty members, STEM instructors for middle school through graduate school, and scientists. The journal will publish articles on topics relevant to teaching and learning micro nano technologies at all levels, including manuscripts that demonstrate new educational micro nano activities and lab experiments that can be adopted in micro nano curriculum at all levels, especially undergraduate. 

  • Neda Habibi, Assistant Professor, Micro Nano Technology Education Center, Northwest Vista College, San Antonio, TX; 
  • Atilla Ozgur Cakmak, Assistant Teaching Professor, Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge Resource Center, Center for Nanotechnology Education ad Utilization (CNEU), Engineering Science and Mechanics, College of Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, West University Park, PA; 
  • Peter Kazarinoff, Assistant Professor, The Micro Nano Technology Education Center, Portland Community College, Portland, OR

Micro Nano Fabrication Research Experience:  It’s About Technician Students!

The Micro Nano Technician Research Experience (PDF download) is provided by the Support Center for Microsystems Education (SCME) at the University of New Mexico under NSF Grant 1700678. This project gives technician students an opportunity to research, learn, problem solve, and apply microfabrication principles under the mentorship of subject matter experts and graduate students. An overview of the preparatory online methods and hands-on cleanroom experience is provided. Several students present their work and impressions of their experience. Students are encouraged to document their work through presentations, posters, and paper submissions to the Journal of Micro Nano Technology Education (JMNT-Ed). 

  • Matthias Pleil, Research Professor, Support Center for Microsystems Education (SCME), University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM; 
  • Jared Ashcroft, Professor of Chemistry, Micro Nano Technology Education Center, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA. 
  • Student presenters are Sophia Barber, Alfonzo Meraz, and O’Neail Duglin, all from Pasadena City College.

nanoHUB’s Open-Access Cloud-Computing Resources for Nanomanufacturing, Nanobio, and Data Science

This presentation introduces educational resources in nanoHUB that faculty and students can use to learn about cloud manufacturing, simulating biological systems, and data science techniques. Established in 2002 and funded by the National Science Foundation, nanoHUB is the premiere place for computational nanotechnology research, education, and collaboration. nanoHUB hosts a rapidly growing collection of simulation programs for nanoscale phenomena that run in the cloud and are accessible through a web browser. In addition to simulation devices, nanoHUB provides online presentations, courses, teaching materials, and more. 

  • Tanya Faltens, Educational Content Creation Manager, MNT-EC, Network for Computational Nanotechnology, West Lafayette, IN

Simulation and Visualization Tools for Nanotechnology Curricula

Visualization and simulation (PDF download) promote students’ understanding of phenomena at nanoscale. This presentation explores the application of online visualization and simulation tools for teaching nanotechnology curricula. Utilization of online tools enhances students’ learning of complex concepts at nanoscale without acquiring expensive equipment. These tools include 26 RAIN (Remotely Accessible Instruments in Nanotechnology) nodes for accessing visualization instruments and 500+ simulation tools at nanoHUB; and CompuCell3D, a flexible modeling platform that allows simulations for biology, tissue engineering, and viruses such as COVID-19.  Simulation experiences at Penn State University with X-ray characterization by XPS and XRD are also presented. 

  • Ahmed Khan, Fulbright Specialist Scholar, Fulbright/World Learning Inc, Oak Brook, IL; 
  • Sala Qazi, Professor Emeritus, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Utica, NY; 
  • Atilla Ozgur Cakmak, Professor, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Penn State University, University Park, PA

The July 2021 event has over 80 sessions available on the HI-TEC On-Demand Sessions page on a wide range of topics: Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology, Cybersecurity, Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion, Employer Engagement, Energy And Environmental Technologies, Engineering Technologies, Future Of Work, Grant Funding, Information Technology, Internet Of Things, Learning, Evaluation, And Research, and Micro Nanotechnologies.

As mentioned above, these two keynote presentations are excellent:

Day 1: Mark Maybury, Chief Technology Officer, Stanley Black & Decker

Day 2: Jessica Gomez, Founder, President and CEO, Rogue Valley Microdevices

Here is the full list of titles and the On-Demand Session link above is where all the presentations and YouTube links are available.

  1. Hands-On Workshops in a Virtual World
  2. Scaling Advanced Manufacturing Technician Education to K-12
  3. SEMI Works Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Certification Model
  4. Smart Manufacturing Education and Training Modules
  5. Sustaining FLATE
  6. Amazing Team Effort to Create Career Pathways to the Bioscience and Healthcare Industries
  7. A Model Career Website for the Skilled Technical Workforce
  8. Biotechnology Bench Beyond Mask: Building Communities
  9. A Model for ATE National Center Websites and Education Databases
  10. Prescience for Distance: The Bioscience Technician Expansion Project
  11. Creation of an Apprenticeship Program in Cybersecurity Education with Industry
  12. Cyber Supply Chain Risk Management: Threats and Mitigation Strategies
  13. Cyberpreneurship
  14. Developing and Hosting Your Own Cybersecurity Competition
  15. Development of an Automotive Cybersecurity Course
  16. Engaging Students with Hands-On Cybersecurity Projects During COVID
  17. Final Year – Cyber Up! Digital Forensics and Incident Response
  18. Implementing a Virtual, Low-Cost Industrial Control Cybersecurity Training Environment
  19. Integrating Project-based Technical and Workplace Skills into Your Virtual Cybersecurity Curriculum
  20. Adapting to Create Meaningful Connections to Industry
  21. Best Practices for Building a Diverse Pipeline of Cloud-Ready Talent
  22. Creating Talent Pipelines for Targeted High-Tech Industries
  23. Eliminating Denial of Service: One College’s Approach to Increasing Minority Representation in Cyber
  24. Empowering Students to Recognize and Foster More Inclusive Workplaces
  25. Exploring Connections with Active Military and Veterans for Technology Programs
  26. Female Students’ Perceptions of Problem-Solving Through Peer Learning in Introductory Engineering
  27. Information and Strategies for Guiding Culturally Responsive Education
  28. Offering Advanced Software Training for Secondary School Students
  29. Strategies for Innovative K-12 Outreach
  30. Top Ten Tips for Teaching Student Veterans from the Classroom to Online
  31. Transforming the Optics Program at Monroe Community College into a National Model
  32. Common Barriers to Successfully Engaging Employers and How to Overcome Them
  33. SCADA Modularized Curriculum, Hands-On Labs, and Job Task Analysis for Renewable Energy
  34. Will Wide-Bandgap (WBG) Semiconductors Replace Silicon? Learn About This Cutting-Edge Technology
  35. Interdisciplinary Education of 3D Technologies
  36. Manufacturing PPE During a Pandemic: Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Workforce Readiness
  37. Microcredentials/Badging for Engineering Technology in Healthcare
  38. Promoting Your Center/Project to More Than 105,000 Industrial Professionals for Free
  39. Virtual Reality for MEMS Material in Second Life Using Blender and Solidworks
  40. Augmented and Virtual Reality and Workforce Training: Promises and Pitfalls
  41. Learning from Industry: The Future of Work for Technicians
  42. Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work: Implementing the Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core
  43. Adviser, Role Model, Friend? Giving Back by Becoming a Mentor-Fellow
  44. College Collaboration to Create a Grants Program and Portfolio
  45. Cultivating Employer-Led Innovation Strategies to Fuel Competitive NSF ATE Proposals
  46. Data-Informed NSF ATE Proposals: Exploring and Using the New ATE Survey Data Dashboard
  47. Increase Your Funding Success with No-Cost Mentoring for Prospective NSF ATE Grantees
  48. The Connected Coast Initiative
  49. Convergence Technology Students Present New Perspectives and Share Projects
  50. Enhancing Associate Degrees for IT Technicians
  51. The Evolution of Training for Supply Chain Automation Technicians
  52. Faculty-Advisor Relationship Impact on Student Decisions on Academic and Career Paths
  53. Leverage Employer-Led Skill Standards to Strengthen Your IT Program
  54. Time Sensitive Network Application in Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Systems
  55. From Hands-on to Virtual: Shifting the Training Demands for IoT and Sensors
  56. Internet of Things Education Project
  57. Internet of Things: Preparing the Future Technical Workforce
  58. The Wild World of Wireless in the 2020s: What Should We Teach?
  59. Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) Programs’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Results
  60. Begin With the End in Mind: Formative Assessment and Evaluation in Professional Development
  61. Coding a Flexible Apprenticeship: Faculty Perspective and Support Relationships
  62. Creating Career Pathways and Learning Communities
  63. Cross Collaboration Between ATE Projects and Centers in Developing Interactive Student Activities
  64. Developing Photonics Education for Secondary Schools: UPDATE to Include Overcoming COVID
  65. Effective Remote Learning: Virtual PLC and Multi-Technology Simulations and Virtual Machines
  66. Engaging STEM Students During a Pandemic
  67. Global Virtual Exchange in Technical Courses
  68. MNT-EC’s Talking Technicians Podcast
  69. NC3-Festo National Certification Program: Lessons Learned
  70. Productivity Toolkit: Three Free Resources for Scheduling, Design, and Project Management
  71. Silver Linings: How COVID-19 Jump-Started Holistic Student and Employer Engagement
  72. Software Development Evaluation and Grading Strategies
  73. Transition From Traditional, Didactic Instructional Delivery to Competency-Based Education Modality
  74. Transitioning Orientation from Traditional to Digital: Approach, Practice, and Reflection
  75. Using Alternative Methods to Support Hands-on-Learning (labs)
  76. Using Virtual Citizen Science Activities to Introduce Students to Careers as Research Technicians
  77. Working Technicians Tell Their Stories
  78. Journal of Micro Nano Technology Education (JMNT-Ed)
  79. Micro Nano Fabrication Research Experience: It’s About Technician Students! (Related presentation from Undergraduate student research project is here.)
  80. nanoHUB’s Open-Access Cloud-Computing Resources for Nanomanufacturing, Nanobio, and Data Science
  81. Simulation and Visualization Tools for Nanotechnology Curricula