Advanced Materials Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)

The University of California San Diego MRSEC Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program is aimed at providing K-12 and junior/community college educators with a summer experience in a MRSEC research lab. The participants are attached to one of the MRSEC RIMSE Summer Schools, where they receive an introduction to research in the materials science focus area of that particular RIMSE.  As part of the experience, the RET participants will work on projects and modules that they can translate to the classroom at their institution. Our team of education experts in the RIMSE program will provide guidance on developing materials science content, demonstrations, and course materials that dovetail with the current California Science Education Standards.

NSF-RET MRSEC trainees will be: 1) exposed to the grand challenges in the field of materials science; 2) trained in computational, nanotechnological, and /or biological methods aimed at making new materials; 3) provided mentoring and academic/professional development opportunities, including the potential to produce publishable research and participate in professional conferences.

2024 Applications Closed

Duration: June 24 - Aug. 16, 2024 (8 weeks). Trainees will have the option to extend their paid laboratory research participation by up to 2 weeks (10 weeks total).

Programming: Extensive training and mentoring in cutting-edge materials science research is accompanied by weekly research seminars, industrial field trips, professional development workshops (safety and research ethics, science communication, information literacy, graduate school preparation), and networking/recreation. RET trainees will assist with development of one or more of the MRSEC materials science educational modules.

Expectations: Full-time commitment to extensive lab work and engagement in program activities.

Support: $900/week stipend (stipend includes allowance for meals). The program additionally provides on-campus housing and reimbursement of travel expenses up to $500.

Eligibility Requirements

This research program is open to K-12 and junior/community college educators with programmatic focus on STEM who are citizens or permanent residents of the US or US territories, as stipulated by the NSF. Note: No prior research experience is necessary.

UC San Diego and our MRSEC are committed to the achievement of excellence and diversity among faculty, staff, and students. Women and minority applicants, veterans and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply to our NSF RET program.

If you have questions, please contact

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2024 RET Participants

Fisher, James (Jim)

BIO: Jim is currently a full-time chemistry instructor at Imperial Valley College. He participated in the San Diego Nano Institute (SDNI) research experiences for teachers (RET) in the summer of 2020 remotely. He looks forward to gaining experience in the Research Immersion in Materials Science & Engineering (RIMSE) Summer School on Silicon Nanotechnology (SSSiN) that will benefit his students. His goal is to create nano chemistry related educational material to engage both students and their families.
ORCID: 0009-0009-9471-2255
Mentor: Ashley Tamura

Nguyen, Edward

BIO: Prof. Edward Nguyen is an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry, teaching in the San Diego Community College and Grossmont College districts and participating in the SSSiN program. He received both his B.S. and M.S. from CSU Long Beach (Advisor: Xianhui Bu) and obtained his Ph.D. from Florida State University (Advisor: Geoffrey F. Strouse, Focus: transition metal carbide nanocrystals). He hopes to recruit students at San Diego Miramar College for nanoscience summer research.
ORCID: 0000-0002-4787-8270
Mentor: Ashley Tamura

2024 RET Mentor Participants

Huffer-Ege, Eileen

BIO: Eileen is a Guam-born but California-raised Science Educator, teaching Chemistry and Biology, at the School of Engineering, Innovation and Design on the Kearny High Complex in San Diego. With a passion for inspiring others to learn about the ocean and its creatures, Eileen also organizes and mentors a Blue Technology club where students design, build and compete with underwater remotely operated vehicles. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors--beach camping, traveling, watching ice hockey and making holiday decorations.
ORCID: 0000-0002-5785-5822

Tamura, Ashley

BIO: Ashley Tamura is an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry, teaching in the San Diego Community College and Southwestern College districts. She received both her B.S. and M.S. from UC San Diego while working on the phase-tunable colloidal synthesis of tungsten disulfide nanocrystals with Dr. Alina M. Schimpf. She continues to have interests in both nanochemistry and teaching.
ORCID: 0000-0002-2540-6125