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FFF1.08 - Materials Science Research to Open Doors for Economically Disadvantaged High School Students: The ACS Project SEED Program at Clark Atlanta University 
Date/Time:
April 22, 2014   11:45am - 12:00pm
 
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The Center for Functional Nanoscale Materials (CFNM), an NSF Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology, at Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is an ACS (American Chemical Society) Project SEED site. The ACS project SEED Program is recognized nationally as providing hands-on research opportunities to disadvantaged high school students, who have historically lacked exposure to scientific careers. CAU is a minority serving institution and has an excellent working relationship with Atlanta area school systems that serve large numbers of minority students. Students entering their junior or senior year in high school are selected for the Program based on their academic performance, an essay and letters of reference from their teachers. These high school students then become part of CFNM’s eight week summer Nanoscholars Program. The program included a weekly Nanoscience Survey sessions during which the Nanoscholars learned about scientific problem solving, nanotechnology, nanomaterials, and scientific reporting. The weekly Journal Club, facilitated by the professors and graduate students, involved discussions of articles on such topics as material science, nanotechnology and ethics in science. Each Summer Nanoscholar participated in the research program of his/her advisor and prepared and presented a scientific paper to the CFNM Community (participants, students, professors and mentors) at the end of the Program. We have completed three summers as an ACS Project SEED site. So far we have had one SEED scholar submit a major manuscript, two were invited to present at ACS National Meetings and one was awarded an eight (8) year Gates-Millennium scholarship. The evaluation of the Project strongly suggests that our approach is effective for opening doors for the economically disadvantaged students and tapping the best and the brightest for careers in the sciences and engineering. The evaluation component was organized around the following three dimensions: (1) Program Implementation (Effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery by the program); (2) Student Data (Academic and professional competencies, including research publications and presentations, lab performance, demonstrated leadership skills and satisfaction); and (3) Performance Feedback (Evaluations of all components to address the question, "How well is the CFNM Project SEED achieving its goals?"). In the words of one of our young scholars “I realized that research is a continuous learning process. You can never know everything. Even a professor has credentials but they’re still continuing to learn.”
 


 
 
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