Category Archives: Outreach

San Simon Family STEM Night Success!

sansimonAs part of the AISPIRE (American Indian Student-Parent Involved Research Experience) after school program collaboration with San Simon Day School on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, CIAN recently co-hosted a special San Simon Family STEM Night.

On May 2nd CIAN, WiO (Women in Optics), SOCk (Student Optics Chapter), and College of Optical Sciences students and staff visited San Simon Day School on the Tohono O’odham Reservation to celebrate the inaugural San Simon STEM Family Night. The event was hugely successful with Tohono O’odham students and parents in attendance. Students presented their science fair projects, a number of which were featured and received awards at SARSEF. University participants presented optical demonstrations including virtual reality glasses, a laser radio transmitter, and much more. There was also a rocket launch demonstration by the students and a tribal dance celebrating the students and parents’ culture.

Click the picture to see it larger!

Overall, the event was a huge success and will be occurring annually in May. CIAN will continue to co-host and participate in the event as part of CIAN’s AISPIRE After School program. The school and the optics volunteers were thrilled to see the event featured on the first page of “The Runner,” the official newspaper covering the Tohono O’odham Nation.

This event is largely in thanks to the dedication and hard work of previous ROKET (Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers) participant, Martha Rogers; and San Simon Principal, Frank Rogers. Additional thanks go to the student volunteers from WiO and SOCk, and all the participants at San Simon.

RET Followup: Lemon’s Lab

Microelectronics & Lemon’s Lab – A place to Imagine, Inquire, and Innovate!

The theme for science lab this year has been “Microelectronics in the Lab”.  This theme is evident in several projects, originally planned at the Tuskegee University Microelectronics Lab, under Dr. Korivi, and executed at Greenville Early College (GEC) with my sixth-graders in Greenville, SC.  Grow lights, Little Bits, and Weather Tools were all designed with microelectronics components intended to make life easier and safer in class during our experiments.  This theme has been infused in the projects this year!  Here’s more…More

We launched the Smarter House Project, in which kids were excited to share the results of their home electrical surveys as an entry event.  They discovered how series and parallel circuits work using trial and error computer simulations, followed by more virtual simulations on making connections between different forms of energy to generate power:  wind, water, corn (ethanol plants), solar, and nuclear.  Guest-speakers, from the Oconee Nuclear Power Station, provided an opportunity for responses to some “Need to Knows” not yet answered, or discovered, through student research and inquiry-based scaffolding activities I had assigned. Continue reading

SLC Scholarship Recipients 2016

Every year CIAN recognizes students showing exceptional leadership and involvement in all aspects of CIAN in pursuit of the Engineer of 2020 attributes.

Everything a CIAN student does throughout the year is considered in his or her application for this scholarship, from outreach to publications and much more. Each student selected for the scholarship receives $500. Every student in CIAN is highly encouraged to apply whether he or she is more active in research, outreach, or both–the application recognizes many activities.

CIAN recognizes the follow students for their participation, leadership, and dedication to in Year 8.

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Feibien Cheah

Undergraduate, University of Arizona

To be a CIAN student, it means that one cares about the development of STEM in the community and is passionate about making the internet faster and cheaper for the future. Being a CIAN student made me a better engineer by teaching me the skills to problem solve in lab and to have the people and presentation skills while doing outreach. CIAN has been a big part of my college experience as I have gained many valuable experiences from being active in the CIAN community.

jilianJilian Nguyen

Undergraduate, University of Arizona

Being a CIAN student means being a part of cutting-edge research in exciting projects that I would usually not have the chance to participate in. I am helping to engineer something useful that people will actually benefit from. The program has given me knowledge and skills that put me ahead of the curve and have helped me understand the rigors of research. Being in CIAN is helping me become a great engineer because I am gaining research experience early in my educational career, which has made it easier for me to have more opportunities to participate in other stimulating and innovative research projects in the future.

hannahHannah Grant

PhD Student, University of California San Diego

CIAN has given me plenty of opportunities to become a better engineer. Whether it being getting real lab experience doing the CIAN REU at UCSD during my undergrad or being able to collaborate with other graduate students not only in my university but as well as other top universities. Additionally, being involved in the outreach amongst CIAN has really allowed me to become better at conveying knowledge to others, which is a skill that is sometimes lacked in the STEM fields. Overall, a CIAN student is resourceful with their research and the tools they are given, helpful in their communities and willing to go the extra mile.

soha-profileSoha Namnabat

PhD Student, University of Arizona

I enjoyed being a CIAN student during my PhD program. CIAN not only gave me the opportunity to learn about telecommunications on a broader scale, but leveraged my skills in networking with colleagues, faculty and industry, collaboration with different groups of people, and entrepreneurship. I learned more about different topics than other students who didn’t have the opportunity. Also the importance of outreach in our society and the way to give back. I really enjoyed my time with CIAN, especially the outreach and times we were with other CIAN students and learning from each other. This has developed some friendships that may not have happened without the ERC.

morteza ziyadiMorteza Ziyadi

PhD Student, University of Southern California

For the last five years, I’ve been a CIAN student at USC and I’ve learnt a lot from this center. Getting the chance to meet and collaborate with different research groups toward a unique goal, gaining experience by different outreach activities, being awarded by the center, and achieving the leadership opportunities for the students are the instances of different opportunities, experiences and benefits that CIAN has provided to me. I’ve learnt a lot from the center program and I’ve enjoyed my time as a CIAN student.

An Evening with Captain Jim Lovell

The Captain of Apollo 13 is not your typical dinner guest.

In 2014, I was honored to be named an Astronaut Scholar. The Astronaut Scholarship, which was established by the original Mercury 7 astronauts, aims to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in science and technology by providing college scholarships for the very best and brightest students pursuing science, technology, engineering or math degrees. My colleague and friend here at Optical Sciences, Travis Sawyer, received an Astronaut Scholarship both in 2014 and 2015.

Earlier in December, Travis and I got an email about an amazing opportunity. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, or ASF, was holding an event near Phoenix for a large group of potential donors, and they wanted to have a few Astronaut Scholars present for the event. I could barely contain my excitement when I realized who the speaker for the evening would be, Captain James Lovell, of Gemini 7 and 12, and Apollo 8 and 13!

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Left to Right: Myself, Captain James Lovell, and Travis Sawyer.

We arrived in Phoenix just before dinner time and drove out to the venue, a very nice country club in a gated neighborhood. We had the opportunity to talk with Captain Lovell a bit before the other folks started arriving, then we mingled until dinner time. We enjoyed a wonderful view of the sunset over the Phoenix Valley.

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Arizona sunsets are amazing.

After meeting and speaking with several retired folks, dinner commenced. We got to sit with the leadership of the ASF, plus a member of the board of Trustees for ASF and his family, and of course Captain Lovell.

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Travis, myself, Todd Hanson from ASF, and Captain Lovell at dinner

Most of the people at the table really didn’t know about optical sciences, so Travis and I took turns explaining the applications of optics, and our own individual backgrounds. I had a chance to pass around the hologram I had made as part of the Real Holography project I did as an undergraduate with CIAN. Travis talked about the role of optics in art, such as determining brush strokes, artist identification, and the hyperspectral imaging of art. I got to ask Captain Lovell several questions, such as about the Apollo 13 movie and his involvement. Turns out the captain of the aircraft carrier that retrieves the Apollo 13 crew in the film is the actual Captain Lovell!  I also asked him if there was a question that people always asked him at events like these, to which he replied “How do you go to the bathroom in space?”

He then gave a lecture to us and the potential donors present about his experiences in Space, mostly about Apollo 13.

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Captain Lovell showed us a video that was included in the report to Congress on the events of Apollo 13.

He had remarkable hindsight to say that the explosion was the best thing to happen to NASA at the time, because it exposed some of the complacency that had lead to the accident, and allowed the incredible people who were part of NASA to shine as they worked furiously to bring the team home. He was also quite funny and a gentlemen. What a privilege to spend time with him.

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SPIE Ben faceBENJAMIN CROMEY –GRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Benjamin Cromey is pursuing his PhD in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. As a member of the Optics Ambassadors and the Vice President for the Student Optics Chapter, optics outreach is one of his passions. He participated in the 2012 IOU program with CIAN and worked with 3D Holographic Displays as an undergraduate. Currently, he works with Dr. Khanh Kieu on fiber lasers and Multiphoton Microscopy.

In Memoriam

Bernard Leonard: May 13, 1960 – November 20, 2015

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Every summer, CIAN hosts amazing teachers from around the country in Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs, and each year they return to their schools to inspire and excite their students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). We have had many RET teachers who excel as summer researchers and teachers, setting an example of superior work ethic and devotion to excellence; Bernard Leonard was one of these. A role model to his fellow teachers and all who knew him, Bernard participated in the Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers (ROKET) program during the summer of 2014, at the University of Arizona. Sadly, after bravely fighting cancer, Bernard passed away on November 20, 2015.

Bernard was an honorable husband and father of two children. He taught children on Arizona’s Hopi reservation, and although some of us knew him only shortly, it was obvious that he was proud of his heritage and his roles as husband, father, and teacher. He was kind, humorous, and giving.

On behalf of the Center for Integrated Access Networks and the 2014 fellow ROKET participants, our thoughts and condolences are with Bernard’s family.

Thank you for your example, Bernard. It will not be forgotten.

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Words from fellow teachers and ROKET participants:

“Bernard Leonard, a true Diné man and a friend of many, was an educator participant in the Summer of 2014 CIAN-ROKET STEM opportunity at the University of Arizona. Bernard may have lost his battle to cancer, but his fight of educating indigenous students in promoting the sciences remains. He was well loved by those of his family and friends across the Navajo Nation and especially by the community and families of the Hopi Tribe as he gave his all in educating students who entered his class over the years. It is with honor and gratitude to have had the opportunity to have met Bernard and to call him friend.”  

Bernard was a dedicated teacher who wanted to bring more to his tribe and help the students to reach… higher academic standards by participating in scientific research and different activities to bring more ideas of engaging Native American students to STEM and learning. He will be missed and hopefully other teachers from his area would follow in his foot steps to learn to engage Native American students.”

“When talking to Bernard, I was always reminded that I was talking to a true leader; a Father, husband, teacher, and Native American role model. He did it all and made it seem possible. Bernard inspired me to take value in my teaching and to follow the path that feels right.”

 

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Bernard presenting his ROKET research poster and laughing with undergraduate students.

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Bernard having fun in the Thin Films Lab

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Bernard working on an assignment in Prof. Greg Cajete’s workshop

AISPIRE After-School Program – Visit to the U of A

CIAN has formed a partnership with the San Simon Day School located on the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona. Together, San Simon teacher and previous Research Experience for Teachers (RET) participant, Martha Rogers, and CIAN faculty, staff, and graduate students are working to develop and host an exciting after-school program for these students ranging in grades 3 to 8.

The AISPIRE After-School Program (or American Indian Student & Parent Involved Research Experience) is a huge hit with students and parents. Recently, on November 3rd forty-six San Simon students, their teachers, and a few parents traveled from the school to the University of Arizona for a personalized visit. Students visited three CIAN laboratories including the 3D holography lab, the Quantum Nano Optics of Semiconductors (QNOS) lab, and the Multiphoton Microscopy lab. Then the students learned about Optics by creating their own lenses using “Edible Optics” designed and created by CIAN student, Jasmine Sears. Finally, the students learned about kaleidoscopes and created their own kaleidoscopes to take home with them.

Overall, it was an amazing day and visit with the students of San Simon and the AISPIRE program.

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CIAN Summer Program Success Breakdown

Over the course of the summer CIAN universities hosted 65 students and teachers across eight CIAN universities. These are some of their stories…

Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Programs

Research Experience for Teachers programs are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are six-weeks long, and incorporate both a laboratory research component and classroom component. By the end of the six-weeks, the educators participating have produced a research poster about their project as well as a lesson plan which will be implemented in the new school year applying the science and technology they have learned.

Learn more about the RET program & how to apply.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona hosted eight educators from Native American reservations across the USA. This summer, educators came from the following institutes, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Blackfeet Community College, Browning High School, Navajo Technical University, Santa Rosa Day School, San Simon Day School, Menominee Indian High School, and Winslow High School. Together, the selected teachers impact six tribes including the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Nation, Blackfeet Nation, Navajo Nation, Tohono O’odham Nation, Menominee Nation, and the Hopi Nation. Participants not only spent time performing research within their laboratories, but also participated in classes taking place at the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) as well as completing a workshop on Native American Education with Dr. Greg Cajete, expert in the field. One participant shared his upcoming plans after the program,

My intentions for the upcoming school year are to incorporate some of the experiments that I was fortunate to witness with my students.  We will demonstrate the sun’s energy to produce electricity, cook food, produce hydrogen and improve our environment at the same time…this was a good way to spend six weeks and I would do it again in a heartbeat. ~ Julius Salinas (Fond du Lac Ojibwe School)

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UA ROKET Participants (L to R): Natalie Davis, Vincent Hood, Martha Rogers, Daniel Moreno, Leo Bird, H. Scott Halliday, Marla Lopez, Julius Salinas

If you are interested in learning more about the RET program for educators of Native American students please contact us.

Columbia

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Nancy Yi and Dr. Dessislava Nikolova measuring the transmission characteristic of a silicon photonic modulator

Columbia hosted Nancy Yi, who is a physics teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School. While at Columbia University Nancy participated in the Lightwave research lab of Prof. Keren Bergman.  She was mentored by Dr. Dessislava Nikolova on a project that aims to develop a silicon photonic system for secure communications using the quantum properties of laser light. Silicon photonic devices have very small dimensions and moreover they can be manufactured with the same technology used for computer chips. As a first step in the project, Nancy and Dr. Nikolova characterized the voltage dependence of the transmission characteristics of all modulators on the investigated chip.

UCSD

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Jennifer Quach from Gompers Preparatory Academy spent the summer in Dr. Yeshaiahu Fainman’s laboratory. Her project titled, “Investigating Light and Their Chemical Properties” aims, “to understand light and its properties by explaining the similarities and differences between element spectroscopy and how that connects to their understanding of the atomic energy levels and photons emitted from excited state to ground state.” Using goals of the Next Generation Science Standards Jennifer hopes to see students forming a stronger foundation of the periodic table and its characteristics.

NSU

BillEvans-NSUBill Evans teaches Algebra II and Physics at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia. This summer he investigated “Prism-Coupled Waveguides” with Dr. Demetris Geddis and Lawrence O’Neal at Norfolk State University. Branching off of his summer project Bill will apply the new knowledge to have his students create a circuit using Snap Circuits Kits and then apply knowledge from their understanding of the quadratic equation.

This experience has re-energized me as a teacher, made me much more aware of the quality of work that students need to be capable of performing in an engineering program, and has connected me to a wealth of human resources to mentor, coach, and tutor my students…This has been so powerful! My students will not believe “What I did on my summer vacation.” ~ Bill Evans (Booker T. Washington High School)

Tuskegee

Marie Lemon teaches 6th grade at Greenville Early College in Greenville, SC. This summer she spent 6-weeks in the lab of Dr. Naga Korivi and Dr. Li Jiang.

My goal is to infuse aspects of the lab’s research in my projects planned for this school year.  This lab has been full of invigorating activities and I have been absorbing ideas from the professors and engineering lab students.  One might conclude that 6th grade is too young to benefit from such an experience.  To the contrary… ~ Marie Lemon (Greenville Early College)

4-MarieLemon-Tuskegee-editMarie’s project focused on Smart House Technology incorporating Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and alternative sources of energy (fruit juice, saltwater, and solar panels) to wire the house. The concept of using photons in LEDs to send signals in devices, make connections, and do work in the process introduces and teaches circuits and electricity to 6th grade students. Through this work, students will continue to build on 21st Century skills; such as, collaboration, communication, and digital literacy necessary for college readiness.

Read more about her experiences and on her blog.

CalTech

Two teachers participated in the CalTech Research Experience for Teachers program. Joe Hartley from Larchmont Charter School and John Smallenburg from John Muir High School spent six weeks in the laboratory pursuing state-of-the-art research projects with faculty mentors.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programs

Research Experiences for Undergraduates Programs are funded by NSF, ten-weeks long, and students participate on a research project as well as in professional development opportunities to prepare them for graduate school.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans REU program & how to apply.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduates program & how to apply.

University of Arizona

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L to R (top): Robert Castellanos, Galveston Begaye, Lisa Willis, Brandon Jesus (bottom): Conrad Begay, Desiree Saraficio, Christian Bartholomew, Vernon Kaye

Through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate program CIAN at the University of Arizona hosted eight Native American Undergraduate students. Students hailed from four different tribes including the Colorado River Tribes, the Navajo Nation, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. Projects included developing a smartphone-based ocular imaging system, investigating lead and arsenic exposure risks to a community through analysis of airborne particles on children’s playground equipment, and polarized Raman microscopy of aligned carbon nanotubes; among many other exciting projects. The students also participated in the Graduate College’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC) Program to develop skills that will be essential for applying to, being accepted into, and succeeding in graduate school.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans REU program & how to apply.

Read about past students’ experiences; Solianna, Scott, & Robert.

UCSD

UCSD hosted two undergraduate students this summer in Dr. Yeshaiahu Fainman’s laboratory. Caylin VanHook attends Louisiana Tech University where she studies electrical engineering and physics. This summer her project was “Numerical Techniques in Near-field Optics and Materials.” Andrei Isichenko attends Cornell University and studies engineering and physics. His project was “Capacitvely-induced free-carrier effects in nanoscale silicon waveguides for electro-optic modulation.” Caylin and Andrei also participated in the UCSD STARS program which enabled them to attend a GRE preparation course, attend graduate school preparation workshops, present their research at the UCSD Summer Research Conference, and learn from other opportunities throughout the summer.

CalTech

Two students participated in the CalTech REU program. Aadith Moorthy researched “Vacuum Technology for Applications in Optoelectronics and Novel Environments.” Aadith studied miniaturized vacuum triodes and vacuum-based photodetectors, both of which utilize field emission of electrons. As a result of the project Aadith stated in his abstract,

This photodetector will help forward CIAN’s mission of creating transformative optical technologies by allowing for high speed conversion of an optical signal to an electronic one. Overall, the results substantiate the promise of field emission in vacuum technologies for novel applications and environments.

Daniil Lukin studied “Design and Fabrication of Low-Voltage Turn on Vacuum Triodes.” For his project he worked with four-terminal planar vacuum triodes with emitter-collector gaps under 10nm, fabricated out of tungsten on sapphire. This technology is expected to operate at high temperatures and high frequencies which will be useful for integration with on-chip photonics.

Columbia

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Lillian Chik presents her project at the Columbia REU Symposium.

Lillian Mun Shin Chik was mentored by Ph.D. student Christine Chen on implementing dynamic control of a Silicon photonic switch fabric through a computer interface, to improve system robustness with power resource allocation. Chik says, “For this project, I learned in detail about optical communications for high-speed networking, focusing primarily on the photonic packet switching architectures.” Jacob performed system optimization on the programmable wavelength locking firmware and software for the lab’s high performance silicon photonic link and switch systems. Jacob’s first deliverable was a modification to FPGA based signal processing of wavelength locking feedback signals – he replaced an unstable moving average filter with a more stable (fewer transients) median filter. Additionally, Jacob explored further automation of the system and began development of a lock-and-memorize protocol. Lillian and Jacob attended graduate school and professional seminars as part of the REU program, which culminated in a presentation to Columbia NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) peers and researchers.

Young Scholar High School Research Programs

The CIAN Young Scholar High School Research Program occurs over the course of the summer (although students are also encourage to apply for the school year). Students have a unique opportunity to enter a top-tier research laboratory and encounter the research process first-hand. Placed with a mentor, the student pursues a designated project and develops a research poster to present his or her progress.

Learn more about the Young Scholar High School Research Program & how to apply.

Tuskegee

At Tuskegee University, four students in grades 10 to 12 from Booker T. Washington High School participated in the CIAN sponsored summer REH outreach program (Young Scholars Program) from June 8 to July 3, 2015. They conducted research on two projects at the Microelectronics Laboratory at Tuskegee University under the guidance of CIAN faculty Dr. Li Jiang, Dr. Naga Korivi and CIAN master’s and undergraduate students. Two reports and two posters were produced as a result of the research activities.

tuskegeeyoungscholar-editThe projects are, “Optical waveguides from 3D printed templates” under the supervision of undergraduate research assistant Alexis Pruitt and “Optical lens from 3D printed templates” under the supervision of undergraduate research assistant Steven Gaillard. The high school students received lab training from research associate Lamont Henderson and their project supervisors as well as many other training and educational opportunities provided by the program.

Columbia

Columbia hosted one Young Scholar High School Researcher student from Union County Academy of Information Technology. He spent the summer learning about the research process and participating in a research project in Dr. Gil Zussman’s laboratory under the mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students. His project focused on improving the design of a web-based tool for the dynamic presentation of simulation results. The project resulted in a demo that showcases routing in node and the hope is that in the future, there will b other discoveries made to connect the angular front-end to the node back-end of the website.

CalTech

CaltechYSCalTech’s Young Scholar’s program is newly implemented in the laboratory of Dr. Axel Scherer and branches off of success had with the CalTech Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. Previous RET teacher, Keith Russell, brought his experience in the lab, Summer 2013, straight to his students in the classroom as well as carrying out regular visits with his students to the CalTech laboratories. This summer, two students of John Muir High School were selected to participate in the five-week program. Three weeks were spent doing labs now used in an undergraduate semiconductor fabrication course to give the students experience with nano-fabrication. For the last two weeks the students carried out their own research project.

As a final note, CIAN would like to thank the many faculty, staff, and students that make these programs possible. Without their dedication and drive these programs would not have such a significant impact across so many students and educators around the country. Thank you.

Where Did They Come From?

This summer’s participants came from all over the USA!

Yellow = CIAN Universities
Purple = REU Program
Orange = RET Program
Red = Young Scholar Program