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ERIC Number: EJ979864
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0047-231X
Engaging Undergraduates through Interdisciplinary Research in Nanotechnology
Goonewardene, Anura U.; Offutt, Christine; Whitling, Jacqueline; Woodhouse, Donald
Journal of College Science Teaching, v41 n3 p36-41 Jan 2012
To recruit and retain more students in all science disciplines at our small (5,000 student) public university, we implemented an interdisciplinary strategy focusing on nanotechnology and enhanced undergraduate research. Inherently interdisciplinary, the novelty of nanotechnology and its growing career potential appeal to students. To engage students in learning and to keep them engaged, we offer progressively more independent research opportunities with faculty mentors and encourage participation in a robust science learning community that supports students outside the classroom. Activities beginning in the freshman year build connections with faculty members and student peers and foster a growing individual identity as scientists. Since implementing this approach in 2005, a total of 73 students have enrolled and 32 have graduated. Half of the currently enrolled students are biology-chemistry majors and the rest are physics majors. We have significantly increased the number of student publications in peer-reviewed journals. These gains were achieved without sacrificing standards: 32 graduates have earned on average 148 credits and maintained a mean GPA of 3.17, and half have gone on to graduate school. (Contains 1 table.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A