Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

IUPUI Receives $494,220 Grant from the National Science Foundation to Create Research and Training Program for Indiana High School STEM Teachers

May 16, 2014

Area high school teachers participate in 2013 week-long IUPUI nanotechnology summer academy administered by INDI.

Area high school teachers participate in 2013 week-long IUPUI nanotechnology summer academy administered by INDI.

INDIANAPOLIS – The National Science Foundation has awarded Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) a grant of $494,220 to develop research and training program for high school STEM teachers within underrepresented and low income school districts in the metro area of Indianapolis.

The Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute’s (INDI) project, "Research Experiences for Teacher Advancement in Nanotechnology (RETAIN)," will provide 30 teachers nanotechnology research experiences, as well as seminars and coursework. Teachers in the program will learn to integrate their RETAIN experiences into their classrooms through teaching modules designed to boost STEM interest and encourage high school students to pursue higher education and future careers in STEM fields.

Teachers will learn about topics and careers in nanotechnology and have opportunities for hands-on lab experience. They also will design teaching modules that meet existing state and national science standards, and will receive support from a professional network of teachers, scientists and on-site RETAIN staff when they teach the modules. Teachers will receive professional development and college credit programming as well.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the National Science Foundation because ultimately it’s an investment in Indiana’s K-12 students,” said David J. Russomanno, Ph.D., Dean, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI. “Our high schools will produce graduates with interest and college-ready skills for success in nanotechnology-related degree programs as well as other STEM fields.”

One project goal is to train teachers in inquiry- and discovery-based science, from hypothesis development and experimental design to data collection and dissemination of results, while introducing STEM concepts, applications and career options. Another goal is to integrate RETAIN content into high school classrooms by translating research experiences into 15 (five per year) inquiry-based, nanotechnology teaching modules designed to boost excitement and student interest in STEM disciplines and careers. The project, which complements IUPUI’s undergraduate nanotechnology track, is under the leadership of INDI’s director Dr. Mangilal Agarwal and other principle investigators Drs. Maher E. Rizkalla, Likun Zhu, Jomo W. Mutegi, and Charles Feldhaus.

“Local demand for STEM-field graduates is as high as the national demand and RETAIN will provide a platform to impact teachers across STEM disciplines and the “wow-factor” needed to boost student interest” said Agarwal.

“Because of the multidisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, trained teachers will be equipped to integrate multiple STEM subjects into their curriculum,” explained Dr. Rizkalla. “They will be able to provide their students with subject-to subject connectivity comparable to real-world collaborative expectations.”

“This is an excellent example of how IUPUI resources such as INDI, in partnership with the Center for Research and Learning (CRL), the Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (UCASE), and the STEM Education Research Institute (SERI) are creating innovative and coveted outreach programs,” said Dr. Kody Varahramyan, Vice Chancellor for Research. “This program will serve well our community through effective enhancement of STEM curricula and increase in high school graduates pursuing STEM fields.”

Five refined teaching modules and the program logistics will be featured on the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, I-STEM Network and TeachEngineering web sites. The project was designed as a portable model that can be implemented at other institutions, and the teaching modules can be implemented on a national level.

About Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute at IUPUI

INDI is an interdisciplinary institute supported through the IUPUI Signature Centers Initiative in partnership with participating faculty from the School of Engineering and Technology, School of Science, School of Dentistry and School of Medicine.  INDI is dedicated to research and training in the realization of nanotechnology-based systems. For more information about integrated nanosystems research and INDI, visit

About the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI
The mission of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI is to be one of the best urban university leaders in the disciplines of engineering and technology recognized locally, nationally and internationally. The school’s goal is to provide students an education that will give them the leverage to be leaders in their communities, industry and society. For additional information on the School of Engineering & Technology, go to

About Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Known as Indiana’s premier urban research and health sciences campus, IUPUI is dedicated to advancing the intellectual growth of the state of Indiana and its citizens through research and creative activity, teaching, learning and civic engagement. Nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and other notable publications, IUPUI has more than 30,000 students enrolled in 21 schools, which offer more than 250 degrees. IUPUI awards degrees from both Indiana and Purdue Universities. For more information, visit