This award provides funding for a three year standard award for a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) in Engineering and Computer Science Site Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) entitled, "RET Site: Inquiry-Based Bioengineering Research and Design Experiences for Middle-School Teachers", under the direction of Dr. Terri A. Camesano.
In this proposed RET site, which builds on an existing RET in Engineering Site program, a total of 30 middle-school science teachers (10 per summer over three years) from Worcester and Framingham Public Schools (WPS and FPS) and neighboring communities will be recruited to participate in a 6-week intensive and authentic summer research experience in bioengineering. The teachers will work alongside WPI faculty and students on cutting edge research projects in fields such as tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. They will gain hands-on exposure to the engineering design process through their own research experience. In addition, the teachers will use the engineering design process to develop an engineering unit for use in their science/technology classes.
By engaging 10 middle-school teachers per year, several hundred students per year can be reached on a continuous basis. WPS and FPS middle-school teachers are excellent target groups because both districts have high percentages of students from minority populations, as well as high percentages of at-risk students who are 2nd language learners and students from low-income or high mobility families.