Research Experience for Teachers


Linking science and mathematics with technology and engineering within K-12 classrooms can be difficult. Research suggests that out of all aspects within a school's control, the teachers’ expertise and effectiveness has the greatest impact on student learning. These programs offer an opportunity to STEM teachers, particularly those who majored in a non-STEM subject, an opportunity to learn more about cutting edge engineering technology and bring it into their classrooms. This professional development program enables participants to engage in meaningful discussions, planning, and practices. After the summer, the program participants will continue to be supported in implementing new inquiry-based methods in their classroom, following the National Science Standards. The research projects will focus on 3D printers and 3D printing.


  • STEM teachers from middle and high schools
  • US Citizens and Permanent Residents only
  • Ability to commute to HPMI (parking is provided, HPMI is also a stop on the FSU and StarMetro bus service)
  • Participants must be available for the duration of the program. Please plan accordingly for family vacations, travel, and other activities.
  • Prior research experience or scientific training is NOT required

RET Timeline

  • Application available: TBD
  • Application deadline: TBD
  • Summer experience tentative: TBD

RET Provides

  • 7 week summer experience with faculty and graduate student collaborators
  • Funds for classroom materials distributed during the school year
  • Support for classroom activity development
  • Hands-on research experience
  • Training in materials engineering and entrepreneurship


To apply, fill out the application available here: 
Required information includes (1) personal contact information, (2) current school information, (3) professional history information (including description of recent leadership roles, research experience if any, and reference information), and (4) statement of purpose (including your approach to teaching and teaching philosophy).


Participants are expected to commute to the High-Performance Materials Institute daily (M-F) during the program. During the summer experience, 35-40 hours per week should be dedicated to the research, entrepreneurship project, and curriculum development. Teachers will present monthly updates on their research and curriculum development progress and join the RETREAT REU participants for the end-of-summer Engineering Entrepreneurship (Engipreneurship) Competition.


Teacher selection will be based on their personal statements on why they are applying, the principal’s recommendation, their resume, and the assessment of interviews. The RET supplement project will work with our REU site to introduce participants to the importance and rewards of creating novel technologies and moving the technologies into the marketplace. This will be achieved through organized seminars on entrepreneurship delivered through the FSU Business School. The internships will take place in conjunction with our 10-week REU period in the summer of 2019. During the following academic year, the PI will work with the teachers and schools to convey their training into the classrooms.

Nature of Activities

The proposed RET supplement project will mirror the REU program and engage in activities that focus on bridging the gap between materials engineering innovations and their market potential. This will be achieved by combining lab based research with seminars. The research component will focus on innovative developmental work in multiscale-multifunctional materials. This hands-on experience will allow the participants to develop a curriculum for classroom/lab-based learning for K-12 students.

The program will begin with seminars on Research Methodology and Ethics, Safety Training, an Introduction to Advanced Composites Materials, and briefings on various research projects. Specialized components will include presentations on best practices regarding legal and ethical standards for sharing data and transferring information to industry and other entities and avoiding scientific misconduct. The participants will learn to apply basic statistical methods, including the design and analysis of multifactor engineering experiments for their assigned projects. HPMI will offer training seminars on statistical analysis, engineering data analysis, experimental design and modern statistical software packages. The seminar sessions will focus on preparing the interns and teachers to plan, design, conduct, and analyze experiments as part of their projects. The teachers will also create and demonstrate a curriculum for secondary school students, with support from CPALMS.

The participants will develop their business skills through seminars provided through the Jim Moran Institute of Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at FSU. Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization (TEC) seminars will be held once a week. The participants will discuss their research with the TEC faculty mentor who will help them develop a business plan for taking their research to market. Through this, the teachers may use this to inspire their students by conveying the potential financial rewards through the STEM disciplines.

The Research Environment

The proposed activity will be facilitated through FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute (HPMI), which is recognized as a leader in developing cost-effective high-performance composite materials and systems. The institute has a close working relationship with the composite and nanomaterials industries and government laboratories. HPMI has state-of the-art composite and nanomaterials design, processing and characterization equipment and is housed in the 45,000 square foot Materials Research Building. The PIs and the participants will use HPMI’s manufacturing equipment, high-resolution SEM, and other characterization equipment in carrying out the proposed activities.

Sustained Follow-up

Once the teachers are paired to the projects, HPMI personnel will meet with the participants to discuss their research plans. They will be asked to rate the teachers’ progress during monthly progress presentations (gate reviews). Before the final gate review, the teachers will be required to build a curriculum for their students incorporating their summer research and training. This developed curriculum will then be packaged and provided for the teachers to use in the fall 2019 semester, and perfected in the spring 2020 semester. The teachers will continue to receive stipends for the ensuing fall and spring semesters. They will continue to be mentored by the PI and the FSU team to ensure proper implementation and assessment of effectiveness. Data will be collected and analyzed on the number of impacted students, and the ability of the program for directing them to STEM baccalaureate programs.