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


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.

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

Pasadena City College Student Janet Teng Awarded Barry Goldwater Scholarship

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

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

2022 Goldwater Scholars Announced

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

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

— Janet Teng, PCC Student and Undergraduate Researcher

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

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

Scholarships Available For Arizona Students Interested In Nanotechnology Careers

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

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

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

Read more about the Rio Salado College Nanotechnology Scholarships below:

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

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

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

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

Micro- NanoTechnology YouTube Channel Is Calling

Whether you are a student, the parent of one, an educator, or an interested citizen scientist, the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) YouTube channel is a place where you can learn more about microtechnology, nanotechnology, photonics, military veteran programs, and even what NASA is doing in its education and outreach efforts. 

Although the channel only started recently, it is growing and sharing nanotechnology student success stories, exploring life in the field for working technicians (called the Talking Technicians podcast, but also available to listen to on YouTube), and providing archive access to professional development courses and workshops for educators done by the MNT team and partners (some of them are embedded here). 

Active Duty service members Working with Transition Assistance Programs with Kate Alcott:

Future post coming on U.S. Military and Veteran certificate and degree program efforts leading to great jobs in Nanotechnology and Microtechnology across the country. 

  • Nano Health and Safety Workshop
  • MNT-EC and Mentor-Connect
  • Kendrick Davis – State of STEM education
  • Neda Habibi – Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Technology
  • Bob Ehrman & Ozgar Cakmak – Penn State CNEU – It’s NACK plus more
  • Peter Kazarinoff – MNT-EC Podcast and Journal
  • Kate Alcott – Active Duty service members Working with Transition Assistance Programs.
  • Rick Vaughn – Distance Education
  • Greg Kepner and Frank Reed – Photonics Professional Development Opportunities

State of STEM Education with Kendrick Davis:

The MNT-EC YouTube channel is striving to provide as many resources to students and parents as they explore the micro- and nanotechnology field. Parents might find the two videos listed on the Micro Nano Technology Parent page to be informative. Scroll down for these two:

–X/Nano: The Enabling Potential of a Career in Nanoscience

–Careers in Nanotechnology: Opportunities for STEM Students

If a student is already involved in a degree program or looking for scholarships, check out the Scholarships page. Or explore work opportunities as an undergraduate researcher and look at the Micro Nano Technology Collaborative Undergraduate Research Network page. Shoutout to the Pasadena City College students who presented their research project at the national level last Spring: NCUR 2021 Enhancing Student Participation and Understanding of Statistical Analysis Remotely. Or you can watch their presentation video below:

If you are interested in a Nanotechnology or Microtechnology degree and the many inter-related fields where a degree or certificate can open doors, keep visiting MNT-EC pages here and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Come grow and learn with us as we continue to build and expand our content.

Nanotechnology Jobs – A Resource Guide

Nanotechnology is a fast-moving field revolutionizing major areas such as medicine, engineering, food science (agriculture and consumer products), aerospace, defense, materials science, and energy, to name just a few. The job market in nanotech, as it is also called, is growing to keep up. 

Nanotechnologists work in a wide range of fields. For those interested in a nanotechnology job, consider searching terms, such as, nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, biomaterials, nanomaterials. Here are a few sample ideas, but read on for more resources, links, and ideas on a career in nanotechnology. 

  • Medical scientists – they design new diagnostic devices, develop cancer treatments (see the NanoBio mAB video from an award-winning student project at PCC) and find ways to repair damage at the cellular level. 
  • As a food scientist, they increase food production, finding methods to detect contaminants and disease, for instance. 
  • As engineers, they might develop computer hardware (think semiconductors) or super-strong materials (materials scientists is one of the high growth nanotechnology jobs). Of course, the worldwide interest in clean energy demands everything from better batteries to lightweight wind turbines and tiny sensors in all of it (again materials science is a big part of nano). 

First stop: Visit the Micro Nano Technology Education Center page on Nanotechnology Jobs and Career Opportunities. Click the plus-sign (+) on the far right of the nanotechnology job titles listed and it will open to show you a range of details to help you decide if it sounds like a job for you. 

For example, Materials Scientists, is a growth area in the state of California as you can see in this image below. Similar job titles include: Micro Electrical/Mechanical Systems Device Scientist (MEMS Device Scientist), Polymer Materials Consultant, Research and Development Scientist (R and D Scientist), Research Scientist, Senior Materials Scientist, Staff Research Scientist, Staff Scientist. 

Dental Laboratory Technicians is another growth occupation that currently employs 1,510 people in the region (Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division). In the next ten years, employment for this occupation in the United States is expected to increase by 14.40 percent. 

Similar job titles include: Crown and Bridge Dental Lab Technician, Dental Ceramist, Dental Laboratory Technician (Dental Lab Technician), Dental Technician (Dental Tech), Denture Technician, Metal Finisher, Model and Dye Person, Orthodontic Laboratory Technician (Orthodontic Lab Technician), Porcelain Technician, Waxer.

To search out specific details around educational requirements and skills needed for nanotechnology jobs, the well-known O*NET OnLine jobs site offers useful summary reports on almost every Nano job (and almost every other job under the sun). Sample of nano job titles: Engineering Technician, Laboratory Technician (Lab Technician), Nanofabrication Specialist, Process Engineering Technician, Research Associate, Research Scientist, Research Specialist, Research Technician, Scientific Research Associate, Technical Research Scientist. 

Start with this O*NET Report: Nanotechnology Engineering Technologists and Technicians – 17-3026.01

The Summary Report for 17-2199.09 – Nanosystems Engineers is packed with industry info, job requirements, education paths, and the skills you will need to become a nanosystems expert. It will also allow you to grab a quick summary called MyNextMove, in this example, Jobs for U.S. Veterans interested in Nanosystems Engineer jobs. There’s also the Microsystems Engineer Jobs for Veterans page, too. 

Jumping back to the Micro Nano Tech site, it has dozens of videos on nanotechnology and microtechnology topics on its YouTube Channel for both students and educators. 

Two helpful and popular videos are found on the MNT-EC Students and Parents page, scroll down and you will find:

  • Dr. Matt Hull of Virginia Tech presented his talk, X/Nano: The Enabling Potential of a Career in Nanoscience, during the Atlanta Public Schools’ Gifted Synergy Symposium on November 5, 2020. 
  • Dr. Jim Marti of the Minnesota Nano Center, University of Minnesota, presented his talk, Careers in Nanotechnology: Opportunities for STEM Students, to high school and community college educators during an information session on the Research Experiences for Teachers across the NNCI program.

If you are looking to get an on-the-ground level perspective from a working technician, Dr. Peter Kazarinoff’s Talking Technicians Podcast is a must-listen. The podcast interviews micro and nano technicians and their stories of how they chose the field and what they do on a daily basis. 

According to CareerExplorer.com, “there are currently an estimated 132,500 nanotechnology engineers in the United States. The nanotechnology engineer job market is expected to grow by 6.4% between 2016 and 2026.” The top states for Nanotechnology Engineer jobs include: 

California17,820
Texas10,760
Florida8,020
Michigan7,350
Ohio6,870
Maryland4,790
Virginia4,640
Louisiana4,580
Pennsylvania4,440
Illinois4,350
New York4,100

Considering the enormous nanotechnology opportunity at the national level, it is important to point out that  MNT-EC is a national center based at Pasadena City College in California, but its partners and affiliates in micro- and nanotechnology span the entire USA. There are many nanotech programs that can prepare you for a job in nanotechnology, here are a few partner details that can help you explore:

Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC) 

Housed at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, NY: the Northeast Advanced Technological Education Center (NEATEC) mission is to attract and train a technician workforce for the semiconductor/advanced manufacturing industries. Read more about Associate Director Kate Williams Alcott’s work to recruit veterans and transitioning military members who are interested in nanotechnology training and jobs. If you are a veteran or active duty military member in transition, check out this upcoming program that still has seats available (at publication) – the flyer has all the info for the January workshop including info on the companies that are interested to hire. 

Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, Indiana

If you search for 2-year nanotechnology job programs, Ivy Tech is often on page one of the results. Cait Cramer is the Assistant Program Chair of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech Community College and a partner here at MNT. Her focus is on microtechnology and enhancing MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) education. Her full bio and LinkedIn profile is here on the MNT Partner page

Support Center for Microsystems Education (SCME)

Dr. Matthias Pleil is well known in the Micro Nano world as the Principal Investigator for two NSF funded centers, the Southwest Center for Microsystems Education (2004-2018) and the Support Center for Microsystems Education (2017) housed at the University of New Mexico. Read his full bio here

The SCME is packed with microsystems education resources including a popular YouTube channel filled with micro and nano videos. To go even deeper in the opportunities in microtechnology and nanotechnology for jobs, internships, and general networking, consider joining the MNT Special Interest Group and be part of the Micro Nano Education community.

Two additional resources that list out nanotechnology job info and salaries are also affiliates or partners here at MNT-EC. One of our National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program partners is the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI is an NSF-supported initiative). It provides researchers from academia, small and large companies, and government with access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology. NNCI has a terrific overview of careers in nanotechnology

NNCI cites Recruiter.com data that can give you an idea of what a nano future holds in regards to expected nanotechnology salaries:

    Two Year Associate’s –  $35,000 – $52,000

    Four Year Bachelor’s –   $40,000 – $65,000                      

    Six Year Master’s –         $60,000 – $80,000

    Eight Year Doctorate –   $75,000 – $150,000

U.S. salaries for nanotechnology engineering range from $52,000 to $150,000 with the average $95,000 according to Recruiter.com.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative, better known as Nano.gov, has a dedicated page to Associate Degrees, Certificates, & Job Opportunities in Nanotechnology for technician level work (good paying, too) requiring a 2-year degree, including links to many of the top schools that can help you get a certificate or degree on your path to a nano job. If you are after a 4-year or graduate opportunity, then check this page

As you can see, the growth in nanotechnology jobs is on an upward trend. Keep up with the news and resources by bookmarking this page as we will continue to update it to help you find that dream nanotechnology job.

Update 21OCT from Paul Webster, one of our partners from Oak Crest Institute of Science: Since many nano and micro jobs rely on microscopy skills, check out the Jobs page on the Microscopy Society of America.

Update 28OCT from Paul Webster (again! Thanks Paul): The American Chemical Society has a wide array of resources for students.

American Chemical Society Resources for Undergraduate Chemistry Students

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 Nano.gov.

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.