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).

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.



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.