Asee peer logo

Board 23: RET in Functional Materials and Manufacturing

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Scott W. Campbell University of South Florida

visit author page

Dr. Scott Campbell has been on the faculty of the Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Florida since 1986. He currently serves as the department undergraduate advisor. Scott was a co-PI on an NSF STEP grant for the reform of the Engineering Calculus sequence at USF. This grant required him to build relationships with engineering faculty of other departments and also faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences. Over the course of this grant, he advised over 500 individual calculus students on their course projects. He was given an Outstanding Advising Award by USF and has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards at the department, college, university (Jerome Krivanek Distinguished Teaching Award) and state (TIP award) levels. Scott is also a co-PI of a Helios-funded Middle School Residency Program for Science and Math (for which he teaches the capstone course) and is on the leadership committee for an NSF IUSE grant to transform STEM Education at USF. His research is in the areas of solution thermodynamics and environmental monitoring and modeling.

visit author page


Venkat R. Bhethanabotla University of South Florida

visit author page

Venkat Bhethanabotla obtained his BS from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and Ph.D. from Penn State in Pennsylvania, USA, both in Chemical Engineering. He is professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering at University of South Florida. He serves as an associate editor for the IEEE Sensors Journal, and serves as a member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Sensors Council and in the Administrative Committee of the IEEE-UFFFC. Venkat is an elected Fellow of the AIChE.

visit author page


Sylvia W. Thomas University of South Florida

visit author page

Dr. Sylvia Wilson Thomas is currently an Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering and former Assistant Dean for the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She holds several patents and has over twenty-five years of experience in industry and academia.

Research Interests

Sylvia Wilson Thomas, Ph.D. leads the Advanced Membrane/Materials Bio and Integration Research (AMBIR) laboratory at USF. Dr. Thomas' research and teaching endeavors are focused on advanced membranes/materials for alternative energy sources, sustainable environments, electronics, and bio-applications from the micro to the nano scale. Her research investigates the fabrication of inorganic and organic thin films and nanofibers for device integration. Thomas’ research group specializes in characterizing, modeling, and integrating membranes that demonstrate high levels of biocompatibility, thermal reflectivity, mechanical robustness, and environmental sustainability, such as carbides, sol-gel coatings, high temperature oxides, and several polymers. Her research is interdisciplinary in nature and fosters collaborations with Chemical and Biomedical, Mechanical, and Environmental Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Public Health, Medicine, and the Nanotechnology Research and Education Center (NREC).

visit author page

Download Paper |


We describe the development, implementation and assessment of a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site in Functional Materials and Manufacturing. Between 2014 to 2018, twenty-seven high school science and math teachers, pre-service STEM teachers, and community college faculty participated in an immersive summer experience under the guidance of engineering and science faculty members of the Functional Materials and Manufacturing Institute (FMMI) at the University of South Florida (USF). Products produced by participants included a research poster (presented at an annual REU/RET Symposium) and a lesson plan (Teach Engineering format) for academic year implementation in their classrooms.

The RET focus on functional materials was chosen for three reasons. First, Materials Science and Engineering is a highly interdisciplinary field that can be addressed in many different subjects covered in high school and community colleges. Second, having a common focus allowed the participants to bond more easily and interact in peer mentoring to advise each other, both in research and lesson plan development. Finally, research in functional materials is a particular strength of the host institution with substantial laboratory and educational resources and accomplished FMMI researchers working in close collaboration in shared, non-partitioned spaces.

Program activities were designed to be synergistic and helpful to participants in producing their posters and lesson plans. These included an authentic research project guided by faculty and their associated graduate students, a course in the fundamentals of materials science, weekly lesson plan seminars, group research meetings and brown bag lunches. A variety of follow-up activities (classroom visits by faculty, extended research involvement of participants, university visits by participants) have allowed for continued collaboration between participants and faculty mentors.

Program assessment results are reported including midterm and post-program surveys of participants and pre- and post-test performance in the Fundamentals of Materials course. We incorporate the assessments into a discussion of lessons learned and how they will drive future RET offerings at our institution.

Campbell, S. W., & Bhethanabotla, V. R., & Thomas, S. W. (2019, June), Board 23: RET in Functional Materials and Manufacturing Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32303

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015