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A Partnership Inspiring Interest in MSE Careers: The Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena (CRISP)

  • Christine Caragianis-Broadbridge (a1), Heather Edgecumbe (a2), Greg Osenko (a3), Ann Lehman (a4), Lisa Alter (a5) and John Tully (a6)...


The intent of the CRISP education and outreach effort is to use materials science as a vehicle for enhancing the scientific literacy and knowledge of kindergarten through post-graduate level students. A challenging part of our mission has been inspiring students to take the next step and consider further study (or a career) in the field of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). The CRISP educational programs were developed through a partnership between Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University and the urban school district of New Haven, CT. An overview of the methods and results of both formal and informal educational program components will be presented for years one and two of the CRISP MRSEC. This paper will focus on two CRISP programs: 1) MRSEC Initiative for Multidisciplinary Education & Research (MIMER) and 2) “Exploring Materials Science” mobile kits. The evaluation data indicates that the approach used in developing these educational programs is important. Specifically, the impact of these programs is influenced by the students' ability to relate the acquired knowledge to real life applications and technologies. In particular, emphasizing career opportunities rather than just presenting content-based programs is a key element to increasing interest towards further study in Materials Science and Engineering.



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1.National Academy of Engineering Website, 1998, “Harris Poll Reveals Public Perceptions of Engineering”,
2.National Science Board, 2006. “Science and Engineering Indicators”, National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA,
3. Super, D. E., “Career and Life Development”, Career Choice and Development (pp. 192234), Jossey-Bass, San Francisco (1984)
4. Gleixner, S. H., “Ways that Engineers Can Get Involved in Recruiting Future Materials Scientists and Engineers”, Materials Research Society, online GG2.5 (2001)
5. Frey, D.D., Wolsky, M., “Engaging Children in Engineering Design Through Popular Media”, J.of Mechanical Design, Vol. 128 (May 2006)
6.The Connecticut Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program (ConnCAP), designed to help prepare secondary students for success in college.
7.J. Edwards, “Engineers Score a Career Goal in the Sports Business”, Career Recruitment Media, Inc.,



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