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The infrastructure offered by a Center allows the operation of extensive education and outreach activities. The UMass MRSEC offers numerous educational activities at the high school and undergraduate level, including a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program that has flexibility to support visiting undergraduates in the summer term or during the academic year, and a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that is especially impactful for the transfer of knowledge from teachers to their classrooms in their respective schools.
The UMass MRSEC is committed to promoting inclusion of researchers from diverse backgrounds, with an emphasis on recruiting and retention activities that promote diversity in Center programs and research teams. On a national level, the MRSEC maintains a partnership with the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and the Center further promotes activities of the UMass Amherst chapter of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE). Our Center has a long-standing commitment to promoting women in science, through recruiting and mentoring programs initiated by the Center, and in a new relationship with the Graduate Women in STEM organization at UMass (GWIS).
The Research Experience for Undergraduats supports undergraduates from throughout the nation by providing a summer research experience in the MRSEC Laboratories.
A Student-led Program in Research and Education (ASPIRE) is an exciting program in which Center graduate students, with faculty supervision, mentor high school students in a laboratory experience at UMass Amherst. The program runs on Saturday's during the winter months, and ASPIRE students perform hands-on polymer laboratory experiments in synthesis, molecular modeling, 3D printing, mechanical testing, and a final, independent project. The winter 2017 program will be advertised shortly, and interested students should contact the program by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Research Experience for Teachers is a summertime research experience for K-12 teachers from throughout the United States.
Ventures in Science Using Arts Laboratory (VISUAL) takes striking images from the spectroscopic and microscopic results of Center researchers and conveys these results to the general public through displays in a variety of venues on the Amherst campus and in the surrounding community. VISUAL images are accompanied by a lay-person description of the science underpinning the result. The continually growing VISUAL collection is online, and Laura Miller's 2016 article in the UMass magazine highlighted VISUAL and its impact on the art-science connection (see page 26 of UMass magazine).
The UMass MRSEC was one of the founding MRSECs of the Materials Research Facilities Network (MRFN), now a nationwide partnership of experimental facilities designed to support researchers and enable their access to state-of-the-art instrumentation not present at their home institutions.