This NUE in Engineering program entitled, "NUE: Nanosystems Fabrication, Integration, and Testing (Nano FIT) for Sustainable Living", at West Virginia University (WVU) under the direction of Dr. Konstantinos Sierros, is designed to educate undergraduate students about the enabling role of nanotechnology in developing sustainable, healthy, and smart indoor environments. The proposed work leverages the success and existing framework of WVU's Nanosystems Design Minor, established in part through the support provided by a 2008 NUE award. It will also utilize, as a test bed and learning studio, the PEAK (Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge) solar-powered house that is being built at WVU. In this NUE project, interdisciplinary undergraduate teams will fabricate, integrate and test nanosystems into a model Solar House built at WVU.
This NUE program is designed to prepare, mainly non-PhD level workers for successful careers in the nanotechnology sector. This project will address a critical need of the nanotechnology industry since there is a projected global demand for 6 million wokers by 2020, with only 400,000 being currently in place. The proposed project will make use of the WVU Solar House which will be used as a test facility for a number of projects from across the University as well as for capstone projects. Because Solar House is a high visibility projects, it offers the opportunity to be utilized as a Community Learning Studio in order to educate the community on several ongoing high interest topics such as renewable energy, sustainability, and home technology. Furthermore, the participation of undergraduate students, who do not intend to continue with graduate studies, will prepare them to enter the workforce in a market that is short of no-PhD personnel.