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Nano To Bio Summer Camp: Forwarding One Erc’s Mission

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring & Outreach for Girls & Minorities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.899.1 - 15.899.12



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Paper Authors

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Robin Liles NCA&T State University

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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Devdas Pai North Carolina A&T State University

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Courtney Lambeth NCA&T State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Nano-to-Bio Summer Camp: Forwarding one ERC’s Mission


In 2009 the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an Engineering Research Center (ERC) to the University. The ERC vision is to engineer metallic biomaterials and underlying technologies which interface with the human body to prolong and improve quality of life. In addition, the ERC is to develop a creative, innovative, and globally competitive diverse workforce for the United States biomedical implant industry and improve PhD graduation rates in nano/bio research, especially among African-American students, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged students. Subsumed within the ERC is an Education and Outreach component. The purpose of the ERC Education and Outreach Program may be described as a multi-dimensional endeavor with activities specifically designed for pre-university education (K- 14) and curricular education of undergraduate and graduate students in bioengineering.

Encouraging the development of a creative, innovative, and globally competitive workforce is important, and may be deemed particularly significant at the secondary level. Since WWII, economic growth within the United States has been both strongly and positively influenced by technological innovation1. Today some evidence exists suggesting this trend is in question. For example, in 1995 high school seniors performed below average in an international test of general knowledge in mathematics and science1; and between 1995 and 2001, only 23% of post- secondary students enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors2. Not surprisingly, the link between education, or the lack thereof in STEM education, and workforce readiness has drawn both national attention and stated concern among educational, business, and political leaders such as Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush1 and Barack Obama3.

It seems intuitive that increasing young adult interest in STEM careers would benefit the economic future of the United States. Indeed, research suggests that individuals who are not persistent with their original engineering major demonstrate significant differences in ability, academic background, and work habits and that these differences are evident early in the college experience. It is further surmised that positive pre-university STEM experiences could influence undergraduate efforts to persist in a STEM major4. Other factors also appear to impact individual choices. Some studies indicate that women are less likely to enter professional fields when they anticipate difficulties balancing professional and personal (i.e., home, children) responsibilities. Women have also reported reluctance to enter science and engineering due to perceived misogyny and resentment among male colleagues, parental discouragement, and poor self- concept related to skills and characteristics necessary for success in STEM careers5 6.

Practices which encourage creativity and its implementation are related to innovation, and behaviors thought to enhance creativity include risk-taking and mistake-tolerance7. Creativity evolves out of social interaction and exposure to new concepts. Individuals demonstrate enhanced innovative thinking when they are connected to a creative social network. It is theorized that social networks translate into a broader range of viewpoints available to an individual8. Practically-speaking, innovation is more likely to occur in groups where there is

Liles, R., & Waters, C., & Pai, D., & Lambeth, C. (2010, June), Nano To Bio Summer Camp: Forwarding One Erc’s Mission Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16130

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