Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below and to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hispanic Students Explore Fiber Optics and the Internet at the 9th Annual Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matimaticas Program

Dr. Trallero conducting a demonstration
   Dr. Carlos Trallero, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at Kansas State University (KSU) traveled to Emporia State University (ESU) on Halloween to work with some of the more than 50 Hispanic middle school students attending ESU’s 9th Annual Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matimaticas Program. The purpose of the Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matimaticas Saturday event was to allow students to interact with Hispanic professionals who work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. This year’s program featured four hands-on workshops taught in a small group settting. Dr. Betsy Yanik, Professor of Mathematics and Si Se Puede Hacer Ciencias y Matimaticas Director at ESU created the Saturday workshop opportunity to spark STEM interest among participants and address the country’s need for more graduates from underrepresented groups to pursue degrees and careers in STEM fields.
    In Trallero's workshop, he posed the question "How does the internet work?" After a brief discussion, students observed demonstrations illustrating how fiber optics actually work. Trallero commented, "the students enjoyed seeing how light is bended as it transmits through fiber optics, the backbone of the internet." To provide some additional one on one instructional assistance, Trallero invited Kansas native and first generation KSU Physics student Jaime Minjarez to join him.  Following the demonstrations, Trallero and Minjarez fielded questions as students discovered how to build a motor with just copper wire, a battery and a magnet.

Students building motors
   Trallero and Minjarez considered the experience both fun and rewarding, and they plan to participate in the program again next year.

The Kansas EPSCoR office supported the visit of Professor Carlos A. Trallero and student Jaime Minjarez of the Physics Department and the James R. Macdonald Laboratory at Kansas State University through the outreach program of a Kansas-Nebraska EPSCoR Track II grant.

Friday, November 6, 2015

EPSCoR EOD Grant Provides Kansas Teachers with "STEM Education Through Sustainable Energy" Curriculum Modules

     Dr. Deepak Gupta, Associate Professor and Director of Engineering Technology at Wichita State University (WSU), used his 2014 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Education, Outreach and Diversity Grant to create the "STEM Education Through Sustainable Energy" teaching modules. Gupta’s team at WSU worked with educators from the surrounding school districts to develop lessons incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards .

     The three main goals of the project were: to create modular sustainable energy systems curriculum in conjunction with feedback from area educators on the curriculum; to train area educators on how to use the curriculum; and  to present portions of the curriculum to secondary students for additional feedback. One of many highlights of this effort was the collaboration established between educators at area schools and at WSU.  Another highlight was the involvement of WSU students in presenting the new curriculum to area high school teachers and in mentoring middle school students in the area.

     Overall this educational outreach effort impacted 100 middle school students from Andover Middle School; 15 middle school Math and Science teachers from across the Wichita Independent School District; and 12 educators and 10 students from the Maize High School in Maize, KS. In addition, the new curriculum modules were discussed with 5 faculty, 2 administrators and 15 pre-engineering students from Hutchinson Community College and Butler Community College as well as with two administrators from the Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education (KCCTE) at Pittsburg State University.
The following teaching modules were created as part of this project:
  • Introduction to Energy – 3 modules
  • Forms of Energy – 1 module
  • Energy Transformations – 1 module
  • Sources of Energy – 1 module
  • Energy Sustainability – 2 modules
  • Energy Efficiency – 2 modules
  • Solar Energy – 2 modules
  • Solar Photovoltaics – 2 modules
      Links to the the entire set of "STEM Education Through Sustainable Energy" Curriculum can be found on the WSU Engineering Technology website. 

     In the near future the curriculum group plans to make the teaching modules available on the Resource Library page on the Pittsburg State’s Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education (KCCTE) website.

Kansas NSF EPSCoR Education and Diversity Grants focus on encouraging the next generation of Kansas student to consider STEM careers in the areas of climate or energy research or atomic, molecular and optical science and are designed to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Kansas.