In an effort to continue the education and experiences of local high-school educators, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Polymers and High Performance Materials (SPHPM) will be hosting ten local community college instructors and high school teachers for a six-week summer research experience with polymer science and engineering faculty members to perform research in the area of sustainable materials. Teachers will work in pairs with faculty and student researchers in efforts focused on addressing 21st century grand challenges in engineering in three areas:
- Improved efficiency polymer solar cells
- High performance polymers and composites from renewable feedstocks
- Environmental impact of synthetic materials in sea water
The overall objective of the program is to develop long-term professional relationships between faculty researchers and local teachers by providing meaningful research experiences in relevant polymer engineering research efforts and establishing follow-up activities to extend the impact of the program throughout the school year.
The proposed research in sustainable materials has direct impact on the key economic drivers in the State of Mississippi in areas that are highly relevant to teachers, students, and their families. Teachers participating in the program will develop an appreciation for the impact of material research on the economy and well-being of MS residents, and will be energized and empowered by the engineering enterprise. Graduate students will be involved in the summer program and will visit classrooms during the school year to help implement research-based activities.