A joint effort by Rice University, Arizona State University (ASU), The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and Yale University, the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) is the first national center to develop next-generation water treatment systems enabled by nanotechnology. The aim is to enable access to suitable water almost anywhere in the world by developing high performance, easy-to-deploy systems for drinking water and industrial wastewater treatment systems enabled by nanotechnology.
In collaboration with NEWT, the Rice Office of STEM Engagement offers NanoEnvironmental Engineering for Teachers (NEET), which is designed to serve AP Environmental Science teachers, Environmental Systems teachers, and Biology/Life Sciences teachers. NEET takes place in the Greater Houston, TX Area; Greater El Paso, TX Area; and the Greater Phoenix, AZ Area with support from NEWT, R-STEM, UTEP, and ASU staff and faculty.
The program culminates in an engineering design showcase provided teachers with a unique opportunity to present their semester engineering projects to their peers, school administrators, and NEWT members. The showcase served to help develop the teacher’s scientific communication skills. Each group creates an engineering poster designed at a level that should excite the students in their classroom and inspire interest in engineering. Each poster explains the problem they addressed, a detailed explanation of their design, how the design was tested, and the possible modifications, limitations, and overall impact of their design.
The purpose of the program is to increase the content knowledge of educators and to empower them in implementing rigorous project-based engineering activities on the topic of water sustainability in the classroom. The goals of NEET are to:
- Think reflectively and critically about current teacher practices;
- Improve secondary teachers' understanding of advanced placement and state standards;
- Facilitate the transformation of teacher practice through the exploration of best practices in educational pedagogy;
- Disseminate NEWT research conducted at Rice University, Arizona State University (ASU), The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and Yale University; and
- Support NEET participants in the application of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and engineering practices.
NEET has helped me to create an environment where students think outside the box. They ask more questions and have become more inventive.