362104 Research and STEM Outreach at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Anju Gupta, 5500 Wabash Avenue, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, IN

There is a need for novel multifunctional nanoscale materials in the area of medicine and environment. My goal is to develop a successful research program at an undergraduate institute to focus on these needs by establishing an interdisciplinary well-equipped laboratory that encourages women and diverse groups in science and engineering. My research interests are, but not limited to, i) Pickering emulsions (PE) for biomedical and environmental applications, ii) Synthesis of spider-web peptides for biomimetic materials.

In modern undergraduate STEM education research has become an integral tool that provides training in innovation and collaboration in addition to preparing students for advanced degrees and careers in science and engineering. One of the challenges in performing research at an undergraduate institution involves designing simple projects that can be conducted with limited resources and involves undergraduates at all stages. The above proposed research activity intends to improve and increase research opportunities in Chemical Engineering Department at PUIs.  Typically undergraduates are available for short durations - one semester or sometimes during the summer. This will be addressed by designing short, cumulative projects from the proposed work that can be completed quickly and the results generated will contribute towards answering the research questions.

In addition to scientific research, I am also interested in developing K-12 STEM outreach activities that involves active participation of the high school schools students, pre-service and K-12 educators. Some of my recent initiatives include: 1) a Chemical Engineering based workshop for pre-service K-12 teachers, 2) acting as a faculty advisor to local high schools for the Performance Standards Project Science Fair, 3) hosting a STEM day workshop for 7th grade and high school girls

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