(588h) A Resource Sharing Approach to Nanotechnology Education: The PA Nanotechnology Partnership
Bringing hands-on nanotechnology to 2-year and 4-year degree students often is hampered, especially in smaller institutions, by the need for proper safety facilities, equipment, faculty expertise, and technician support capabilities. To solve this problem in Pennsylvania and thereby bring in-depth nanotechnology education to every corner of the State, the Commonwealth supports the PA Nanotechnology Partnership, a nanotechnology education coalition of 27 two-year degree and four-year degree institutions across Pennsylvania. This Partnership offers nanotechnology education paths to PA students in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Chemical Engineering technology, and related areas. The common element of these pathways is the Partnership`s ?Capstone Semester?, which is required for all 2-yr. and 4-yr. degree nanotechnology degrees and concentrations available at Partner institutions. The 18 credit ?Capstone Semester? is an emersion taught as a service to Partnership institutions by Penn State at its University Park campus. To ?level the playing field? to allow all these students from 27 schools to have access to this education opportunity, the State of Pennsylvania makes up the difference between a student?s Partner institution tuition and the actual cost of the ?Capstone Semester?. This also makes the program ?seamless? for the student since he or she simply pays the tuition of the institution in which they are enrolled. Since many of the students live at home while attending their 2-yr. or 4-yr. institutions, the State also provides a room and board grant for the semester spent at Penn State. The NMT Partnership resource-sharing model, which brings micro- and nanotechnology expertise, equipment, and facilities to students in every corner of Pennsylvania, would not be possible without this State support. To date, over 500 students have completed the ?Capstone Semester? and have taken jobs at over 70 Pennsylvania micro- and nanotechnology industries.