|Dr. Hui Zhao and Dr. Benjamin Tayo|
|Dr. Zhao conducting experiments in his lab|
Students have also benefited from this collaborative initiative. Each professor has had the opportunity to involve a graduate student in the project. Tayo’s graduate student worked with him throughout the summer, and although his graduate student found the research a little challenging, it has sparked his interest in the field. As a result, Tayo's graduate student enrolled in a topics class titled “Density Functional Theory” to improve his understanding of electronic and optical physics. With this enhancement of his knowledge base, he can then start performing some calculations for the experiments. Zhao is also supporting a graduate student who is performing the related experiments
Tayo summarized the experience so far by saying:
I am grateful that by means of this collaboration, I was really busy last summer carrying out research. The knowledge gain so far has helped me a lot and it’s very useful for the students as I incorporate some of the knowledge into my teaching. I would strongly recommend the program to my colleagues because being active in research really enhances the depth of your knowledge and makes you to become a better teacher.And Zhao added:
The goals were to involve faculty members from small colleges in cutting edge research that would eventually transfer benefits to their students. The theory-experimental collaboration model is a perfect way to accomplish this since it doesn’t require facilities from the small college partner.Tayo and Zhao will continue their collaboration throughout the remainder of the academic school year.
The Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures, #1430519 Track 2 Grant is designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.