Director’s Message — Celebrating Student Success: Stories

Over the last four years, the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) and its partners have dedicated themselves to advancing the nanotechnology field through comprehensive educational programs. At its core, MNT-EC’s mission revolves around nurturing the next generation of nano professionals, focusing on students from community colleges. 

NOTE: Don’t miss the video at end of post!

Highlighting Student Achievements 

MNT-EC’s success is highlighted by its vibrant student programs and achievements.

  • Over 100 student interns in the Micro Nano Technology Collaborative Undergraduate Research Network (MNT-CURN)
  • Four Barry Goldwater Scholars
  • Winners of the American Association of Community Colleges Innovation Challenge
  • Winner best chemistry poster at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science 
  • Over 50 community college published authors in peer reviewed journals

MNT-CURN Research Students 

The MNT-CURN program showcases the real-world value and impact of student research internships. Through MNT-CURN, students engage in cutting-edge research, contributing valuable insights and innovations to nanotechnology. The program highlights MNT-EC’s commitment to providing practical, hands-on research experiences that prepare students for rewarding careers.

Goldwater Scholars 

Among its accolades, MNT-EC celebrates the achievements of students awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. This prestigious scholarship is a testament to the high caliber of students MNT-EC nurtures, recognizing their potential to contribute significantly to mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering research. 

Take, for example, the story of four dedicated MNT-CURN students, Rachael Orkin, Celina Yu, Janet Teng, and Sophia Barber; plus a MNT-CURN student mentor Justice Robinson, who were awarded the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. This scholarship is a nod to their outstanding potential in STEM fields, recognizing their innovative research and academic dedication. 

AACC Challenge Winners 

MNT-EC’s students have also distinguished themselves in the AACC Challenges, demonstrating their problem-solving prowess and innovative thinking. These victories highlight the students’ talents and the quality of education and mentorship provided by MNT-EC. It’s a recognition of how the center’s programs are increasingly aligned with the industry’s needs and challenges.


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-EC’s alums are emerging as nanotechnology leaders, mentoring new generations and enriching the field with their innovations. As we look forward, MNT-EC is committed to broadening its educational programs and research initiatives, aiming not only to keep pace with the rapid advancements in nanotechnology but also to foster industry growth and workforce development. 

We want to celebrate the achievements of our dozens of students across our many partner institutions, whose successes in initiatives like MNT-CURN, Goldwater Scholars, and various other programs underscore MNT-EC’s vital role in elevating nanotechnology education and setting new benchmarks for excellence. We also would like to invite our community college partners to participate in MNT-EC student initiatives to support your students. Ultimately, MNT-EC wants to provide community college students a chance to achieve outcomes that will support their advancement into MNT industry jobs and better prepare them for future education and workforce needs. Email me to learn more.

MNT-CURN student / mentor perspective