MRSECs offer educational outreach programs in science and technology for elementary, middle, and high school (K-12) students and teachers, undergraduates, and general public.These programs commit to:
- Participation to raise the quality of K-12 science education programs.
- Enlarge the pool of students who become our future scientists.
- Advance participation of groups traditionally underrepresented in science.
- Increase public interest in, and awareness of, scientific concepts and new technologies.
MRSEC’s have a number of programs for undergraduate students to work with faculty on interdisciplinary materials research projects involving chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering disciplines. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) offers undergraduates opportunities to participate in materials research projects for ten weeks during the summer. Students receive a specific research project assignment, and then work closely with faculty, post doctorates, and graduate students. Seminars, lunches, and events are coordinated for undergraduates to work and socialize. Many MRSECs focus this program on students from primarily undergraduate institutions. Opportunities for forefront research in these institutions are often limited or unavailable. The REU program further encourages graduate and professional careers in science. Women and members of under-represented minorities are especially welcome. See individual MRSEC web sites for further details. [See MRSEC REU programs]
MRSEC’s provide interdisciplinary research experiences and professional development workshops for pre-college and college teachers. The National Science Foundation’s mission is to encourage the development of a cadre of professionally educated and trained teachers to ensure excellence in school education for every student and learner. Research Experience for Teachers (RET) is a summer program that provides K-12 teachers and pre-service teachers with an outstanding environment for continued professional development. The goals of RET are to give teachers an opportunity to experience: the scientific method in forefront areas of materials research, a hands-on research experience in laboratories and specialized, advanced MRSEC facilities, the use of materials research instrumentation, and the opportunity and techniques to develop K-12 science lessons based on materials research. The RET programs of each MRSEC have different characteristics. [See MRSEC RET programs ]
MRSEC’s offer a variety of activities designed to make science accessible to students. Faculty, post doctorate associates, graduate students, and staff offer hands-on lessons, demonstrations, support for science fairs, mobile laboratories, and mentorship programs. [See MRSEC K-12 programs ]
MRSEC’s work on all levels to support informal science educational programs and to maintain public interest in and awareness of scientific and technological developments. Centers collaborate with local community organizations, museums, newspapers, television, and radio programs to raise scientific literacy. Websites at each MRSEC contain a wide variety of information relevant to community interactions and involvement. [See other programs]