Research Experience for Teachers


RET participant presenting research at the Engineering Research Symposium.

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 NEWT RET, a year-long program for teachers in the Houston, TX; El Paso, TX; Phoenix, AZ; and New Haven, CT areas. The NEWT RET program is design to enhance scientific and research skills of K-12 teachers who serve marginalized students in STEM. Our long term goal is to increase the self-efficacy of our teachers in teaching science and engineering content and further promoting their students to perseverance in STEM fields. The program includes a 6-week internship in a nanotechnology research laboratory focused on water treatment. Selected participants will work in laboratories doing research on water treatment at Rice University, The University of Texas at El Paso, Arizona State University, or Yale University depending on their area. The internship includes a 6-week internship in one of these labs, lesson planning, and travel to Houston, TX to present at a symposium.

Participants not only give a poster presentation based on their summer research at the Engineering Research Symposium for Teachers, attend fall lesson planning workshops, and teach their research-based lessons at a spring NanoAcademy workshop for their students. Examples of published lessons by past RET participants can be found on

NEWT RET Benefits

NEWT RET emphasizes inquiry-based learning where teachers conduct research and apply it in their classroom. Weekly activities engage participants to share their research experiences and brainstorm lesson ideas. Participants developed lesson materials based on their research experience and have the opportunity of publication. Participants also gain research presentation experience.

The most successful aspects of the RET program were opportunities for collaboration, the applicability of the program experience to their teaching practices, the educational value of the experience, and the quality of the program leadership.

2022–2023 NEWT RET Program*

Participation in NEWT RET requires attending both the summer and school year training sessions.

Application are closed

Applications for this program closed on April 3, 2022. All forms were due by this date.

Summer Training

The summer portion of NEWT RET includes:

  • A beginning 3-day workshop on engineering design, lesson development-based research, laboratory safety training, and digital media training;
    • ​Orientation takes place June 8-10, 2022
  • ​Research from June 13-July 22, 2022
  • Working with assigned graduate student/postdoctoral research mentors in a research laboratory;
  • Leadership seminars; and
  • The Engineering Research Symposium for Teachers, where participants will present their research (July 22, 2022).

School Year Training

The 2022-2023 portion of NEWT RET includes:


Applicants will be notified of their status by May 2, 2022 Space is very limited, therefore, completing the application process and being selected for an interview does NOT guarantee placement in the program.

Houston, TX; El Paso, TX; Tempe/Phoenix, AZ; and New Haven, CT area teachers of all grade levels and subjects are welcome to apply, but STEM teachers will receive priority consideration. Due to our funding agency, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident to apply. Once final candidates have been selected, all other interviewed applicants may be placed on a wait list.

Applicants will be required to submit:

  • An updated resume that lists education and employment history; and
  • A personal statement about why you are applying to the NEWT RET program. This statement should be 1 page in length and will be used to determine selection and lab placement; and
  • A completed and signed Participant Acknowledgement Letter (PAL). By signing the form, the applicant agrees to participate in all required NEWT RET sessions.

If you are unable to upload these documents to your application, you can email them to

Benefits & Expectations

The Rice Office of STEM Engagement and NEWT value the unique differences of each member of our programs and thus expect all participants to conduct themselves with integrity, respect one self and others, open-mindedness, discipline, tolerance, a sense of responsibility toward assigned work. Other expectations of NEWT RET interns include, but are not limited to:

  • Working full-time (40 hours) in the laboratory or on research each week of the summer internship;
  • Documenting summer hours and submitting time sheets on time;
  • Completing a poster and video based on summer research;
  • Attending and presenting at the Engineering Research for Teachers Symposium;
  • Developing and submitting a lesson plan based on summer research;
  • Attending and presenting at a Saturday NanoAcademy; and
  • Timely completion and submission of all course assignments and homework.

For completing all program requirements, interns will receive:

  • 6-weeks worth of sustained and supported professional development at Rice University;
  • $7,000 in stipends (spread out over the summer and school year);
  • Networking opportunities with fellow teachers; and
  • Training and guidance in presenting and creating original lesson plans.
Program Flyer

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


    NEWT RET Administration

    If you have any questions about NEWT RET, you can contact the program lead.

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

    *Program times, dates, locations, and compensation subject to change before the first day of the program.
    **Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident to apply.

    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