Education

The educational mission of the IIN is to foster lifelong interest in science and technology by teaching people of all ages about nanoscience and nanotechnology. Through a comprehensive educational effort, the IIN seeks to inform and nurture the scientists, engineers, technicians, and teachers of the future; enrich the academic community; and engage the public. In addition to the over 550 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who are engaged in IIN research, the IIN provides unique educational opportunities for people of all ages. Several of these initiatives are described below.

Exhibit at the Museum of Science & Industry, Chicago - The IIN initiated the first NU partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) to develop a conceptual design plan for a unique exhibit on nanoscience and nanotechnology. The exhibit is scheduled to open in 2015. It will be centrally located in the Museum, occupy 2,400 square feet of the south balcony in the museum’s main building, and will have the potential to reach over 2,000,000 visitors per year.

Fellowships for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows - Current and prospective graduate students are eligible for Ryan Fellowships. Made possible by a generous donation from Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan, these fellowships support graduate students dedicated to the exploration of fundamental nanoscale science and to advancing this knowledge into practical applications of benefit to society. The IIN Postdoctoral Fellows support young scientists and engineers who have recently received a doctoral degree and who demonstrate outstanding talent and promise in the field of nanotechnology. Speak to your faculty mentor if you are interested in being nominated for an IIN Postdoctoral Fellowship or a Ryan Fellowship.

Undergraduate Research - The IIN hosts an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site in nanoscale science and engineering each summer. The Institute also hosts other REU programs funded through Interdisciplinary research centers.

Modules for the Pre-College Classroom - IIN researchers have developed inquiry-based modules on nanotechnology for pre-college classrooms, that include hands-on team activities and design projects. Modules are being disseminated nationwide by the Materials World Modules program.

Publications - In 2004, the IIN launched the first undergraduate journal of nanotechnology in the country - Nanoscape. The journal includes articles written by undergraduate researchers. In 2005, IIN researchers collaborated with Wiley Publishing on the development of Small, the first professional international journal of nanotechnology.

Seminars & Symposia - Providing educational opportunities for the scientific community is another important focus of the IIN. The annual IIN Symposium features talks by world renowned scientists and engineers and attracts over 750 attendees. The IIN Frontiers in Nanotechnology Seminar Series brings national and international researchers to campus for talks and to meet one-on-one with faculty and students. These events are offered without charge due to generous support from corporate sponsors and are listed on the Calendar page and on Northwestern University's Plan-it-Purple.

Events for the Public - The IIN sponsors Nanotechnology World-Wide Town Halls, which introduce the public to nanotechnology in an open forum either in person or on line. The annual All Scout Nano Event, conceived by Michael Kleppinger, Northrup Grumman engineer and assistant scoutmaster, brings hundreds of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Venturing Crews to campus each year to learn about nanotechnology, participate in hands-on activities, and tour laboratories and facilities. Finally, regional and national events like Science Chicago, National Nanodays, high school career fairs, and science cafes are just some of the other important activities in which the IIN and its partners engage.

For more information about the IIN educational activities, please contact
Margaret Connolly at (847) 467-4862