The overarching goal of the NASCENT Center’s educational activities is to educate future research and technology leaders with technical depth, broad understanding of real market demands, skills for innovation, and the creativity needed to bring the benefits of nanomanufacturing in computing, electronics, energy, healthcare, and sensing. The Center will create a specialized education program for its students and implement innovative programs with middle and high school partners at each site to develop a pipeline of pre-college—and, in turn, university—students who are well prepared for careers in STEM fields, especially nanomanufacturing. Our hypothesis is that to succeed in this overall education goal, the Center must actively recruit a driven and diverse set of students, educate them on the technical and innovation skills necessary for success, and provide them nurturing supervision and the environment in which to succeed.


Our Education Partners

  • Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Albuquerque Institute for Math and Science Middle School, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders High School, Austin, Texas
  • Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders Middle School, Austin, Texas
  • Decker Middle School, Austin, Texas
  • Manor New Tech High School, Manor, Texas
  • Miramonte High School, Orinda, California
  • South Valley Academic High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico


One of the main goals of the NASCENT Center is to create a pipeline of diverse, creative students who enter college and STEM degree programs. An important step towards achieving this goal is establishing a successful K–12 outreach program. NASCENT is accomplishing this through the following programs:

  • Middle School Science Academies
  • Middle School Big Ideas about Little Things (BILT) Camp
  • Educational school field trips around nano-concepts
  • NASCENT challenge projects integrated into the school curriculum
  • NanoDays and other community outreach events


The NASCENT Fellows program is an engineering summer research program designed for students in 10–12th grade. Each summer, local high school students are selected to join graduate and undergraduate students for six weeks of laboratory research as Fellows. These “layered research teams” will attack problems in nanomanufacturing and make significant contributions to ongoing projects.  Each high school student will give a final presentation of their results at the end of the summer.

Program Objectives

  • To provide high school students with opportunities to participate in ongoing research related to nanomanufacturing.
  • To provide high school students exposure to both academic and career opportunities in engineering.

Major Activities

  • Students will be expected to work on their research project for approximately 6–8 hours a day during program dates.
  • Students will participate in an orientation held the first week that includes a nanoscience short course to prepare them for their research projects.
  • Students will receive safety training. Students will work under the guidance and supervision of trained laboratory graduate students.
  • They will be expected to read reference material and maintain a laboratory notebook.
  • They will be expected to make a poster that will be presented at the end of the summer session.
  • Monthly Science Academies will be held at partner schools for middle school students during the school year. Fellows will be expected to attend at least three of these Academies to lead activities and mentor the younger students.

Overview of Program Schedule

Week 1

  • Orientation to campus
  • Meet faculty and graduate students
  • Nanotechnology short course
  • Introduction to research methods
  • Lab safety course

Weeks 2, 3, 4 & 5

  • Conduct research under supervision of graduate student and faculty member
  • Participate in workshops geared to teach the student technical writing, poster creation and presentation skills
  • Take field trips to local companies creating products in the nano field
  • Faculty members and guest speakers give special interest talks around nanotechnology and manufacturing
  • Sample Daily Schedule

9:00 am 
High school student will arrive at Pickle Research Center and check in with their graduate student and begin research for the day

12:00 pm
Lunch at the Commons cafeteria (students must bring sack lunch or money to purchase food at the Commons)

1:00 pm
Workshop on technical writing skills

3:00 pm
Begin scientific poster creation using skills learned in workshop

5:00 pm
Depart for the day

Week 6

  • Wrap up research
  • Create scientific poster highlighting their research
  • Create presentation based on research

Last day of program

  • Give presentations to invited audience that can include family members, graduate students, faculty, teachers, etc.
  • Celebration of work accomplished!