About NanoAcademy

NanoAcademy is a series of one-day workshops for students to participate in STEM lessons designed by experienced teachers inspired by the ongoing research at Rice University, Arizona State University and The University of Texas at El Paso.

The main objective is to provide students with hands-on activities to build their conceptual understanding of Nanotechnology, while simultaneously strengthening their critical and analytical thinking skills in engineering. Career opportunities in STEM Engineering are also included as an additional means of exposure for both students and teachers participating in the academy.

Teacher participants from the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) internships work with graduate students and research scientists in innovative research laboratories to create the NanoAcademy lessons. Lessons are designed to allow students to experience grade-level appropriate lesson activities based on nanotechnology applications.

2023 NanoAcademy Program*

Workshop locations include: Rice University in Houston, TX; UTEP in El Paso, TX; and ASU in Tempe, AZ. Lessons range from 5th-12th grade in level and cover a variety of topics, including water pollution and treatment, environmental science alternative forms of medicine, cells and much more!

NanoAcademy is free for students who apply online. Students that arrive at the workshop without applying and submitting a signed agreement form will be turned away.

Breakfast will be provided for all students. Students can drive themselves, take public transportation, or dropped off by parents or guardians. Parents and guardians can park and walk students up, but parking validations will not be provided for parents, guardians, or students. Parents and guardians will NOT be allowed into the classrooms with students.

Applications are now closed. This program will be offered again in Spring of 2024.

Workshop Locations and Information:

NanoAcademy at Rice University

Saturday, February 4, 2023

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CST
Rice University
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030

Grades 9th-10th

Earth Busters (Who you gonna' call?)

In the session, participants will investigate various global issues that are applicable in today's evolving world. In doing so, they will engineer solutions that are essential to out survival and pertinent to the many challenges scientists face today.

Grades 10th-11th

Chemical Engineering... Testing the Water

In this session, students will both identify and analyze the quality of the water using various chemicals and use microscopic analysis of water samples. Students will also use molar mass analysis of the chemicals they are using.

Grades 10th-12th

Discovering Ocean Phenomena: Ocean Currents and Coral Bleaching

This session aims to strengthen student understanding of ocean phenomena that are affected by temperature and are critical to the survival of many species and habitats around the world. Students will expand their understanding of the Coriolis Effect by designing a small scale version of the currents in the ocean. Students will also design a prototype to help save coral reefs from further bleaching damage.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CST
Rice University
6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030

Grades 5th-7th

Laser Maze - Let There Be Light and PLASMID

In this session, you will manipulate light as it strikes different transparent, translucent, or opaque materials. Understand the unique properties of object such as mirrors, the surface of water and other shiny objects. Create different representations of reflected and refracted light as you solve puzzles using lasers as the source of light.

Grades 8th-9th

The Attraction of Machine Learning

Student will learn that as time progresses there is an ever-changing need for future engineers to brainstorm and design innovative solutions for a better tomorrow. This lesson will help shed light on how we can use the application of magnets to come up with an easier way to purify water. The goal is for one to not only understand the complicated process of extracting solvents from water but also gain a basic understanding of machine learning.

Grades 9th-11th

Let Your Light Shine: Using Light to Detect & Optimize Our Senses

This session aims to introduce students to visible light spectroscopy and chemical kinetics. Students will also be able to describe how their muscles react to things that can not be seen. By the end of the session, students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of how light spectroscopy is used to characterize a liquid solution or suspension.

Grades 10th-12th

Life and Molecules

The goal of this session is to deepen student's understanding of how the chemical reactions of organic molecules support life. By the end of this session, students will be able to visualize the 3-D molecular structure of biochemicals and use a model to illustrate the relationship between reactants and products of cellular reparation.

NanoAcademy at UTEP

Saturday, February 11, 2023

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. MDT
The University of Texas at El Paso
500 W University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968

Grades 8th-9th

Clean it Up

In this session, students will engage in understanding the fundamentals of water filtration by engineering their own water filtration system out of household items.

NanoAcademy at ASU

Saturday, February 25, 2023

8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. MST
Arizona State University-Tempe Campus
Tempe, AZ 85281

Grades 6th-8th

Making Every Drop Count!

At this session students will learn about design systems that allow us to collect, clean and reuse household water.


Eligible grade levels vary by activity. Please review the specific location activities and grade level before applying.

Registration for the workshops closes January 10, 2023. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance status no later than one week prior to the workshop. Space is limited, therefore, completing the registration process does not guarantee placement in the workshops.

Applications are now closed.

Applicants will be required to submit a signed release form with their registration.

Program Flyer

Below is copy of the NanoAcademy flyer. You can access a PDF version for download here.


NanoAcademy Administration

If you have any questions about NanoAcademy, you can contact the program leads.

Christina Alston, M.S.Ed.
Associate Director for Science & Engineering
713-348-4761 |

Isaias Cerda, M.S.Ed.
Associate Director for Science Education and English Language Learners
713-348-3197 |

Mariana Quinn, M.S.
Assistant Director for Science Education
713-348-8266 |

*Program times, dates, locations, and compensation subject to change before the first day of the program.

NSF logo along with the four NEWT University logos, Rice University, Arizona State University, The University of Texas at El Paso, and Yale University.

Contact Information

Telephone: (713) 348-8211
Fax: (713) 348-3825

Mailing Address

Office of STEM Engagement
Rice University
P.O. Box 1892, MS-7836
Houston, TX 77251-1892

Street Address

IBC Plaza Houston
5615 Kirby Dr.
Suite 730
Houston, TX 77005-2445