Outreach

Below, you can read about outreach activities on micro- and nanotechnology that I’ve done with my labmates at UNC and with the IU Nanoscience Center. In my teaching portfolio, you can also see examples of service learning activities I’ve done with my students. You can also check out slides for my 2013 Pittcon talk, “Small Scale for a Large Audience.”

Chemistry Day at the Museum of Natural Sciences (2012)

Along with two other postdocs and four graduate students in analytical chemistry at UNC, I helped reprise both our microraft demo on the cell sorting technology developed in the Allbritton laboratory and the Jell-O microfluidics. We estimate that we had a couple hundred visitors as we gave away 196 take-home kits for Jell-O chips. More details about both demos are in the posts below from earlier events.

Microraft Game  Macroraft Array

James and Jazz with our demo chip

Photo credit: Nick Dobes

Nature Research Center Opening (2012)

Nature Research Center Opening

I coordinated a booth at the opening of the new wing of the Museum of Natural Sciences, the Nature Research Center, in Raleigh, NC in April 2012. According to news reports, this 24-h event attracted almost 70,000 people to the new museum wing and surrounding booths. During our 4 pm – 11 pm shift, my labmates and I spoke with hundreds of people about the Allbritton lab’s research.

 UNC Science Expo: 2012

UNC Science Expo 2012

Photo credit: Robert Felder, MD

Macro-raft game

In 2012, I organized a booth about the microraft technology developed in the Allbritton lab. My labmates and I constructed two “macro” sized examples of this micro-sized technology for sorting cells. Visitors to our booth raced to sort (pictures of) cells on these devices using criteria like GFP expression or active cell division.

UNC Science Expo: 2010

Jell-O Microfluidics at 2010 UNC Science Expo

Photo credit: WRAL, Raleigh

I coordinated a booth on the Allbritton lab’s research at the first two UNC Science Expos in 2010 and 2012. In 2010, our booth demonstrated microfluidics using Jell-O microchips based on a publication by the Lagally lab at UBC (Anal. Chem. 2010, 82, 5408). We also passed out over 200 take-home kits to children and K-12 teachers to let kids design their own microfluidics at home.

 Nanotechnology Project with Columbus Signature Academy (2009)

SEM image of Au NPs

After defending my graduate work at Indiana University-Bloomington, I spent two months working with IU’s Nanoscience Center on a project with the New Tech high school Columbus Signature Academy. I helped design a problem-based learning module in which the CSA students investigated the effect of capping agent concentration on gold nanoparticle diameter. After synthesizing the particles in their school lab, the students brought their nanoparticle samples to IU for analysis by AFM and SEM.

Nanoday at the Louisville Science Center (2009)

Microcontact Printing at the Louisville Science Center

Photo credit: IU Center for Nanoscience

To help celebrate Nanoday at the Louisville Science Center, I coordinated a booth on microcontact printing, a technique that used a flexible stamp to apply a thin layer of material to a surface in a specific pattern. We helped museum visitors plate silver mirrors, stamp them with a self-assembled thiol monolayer in the pattern of their choice, and then selectively etch away the unprotected silver where the monolayer was not applied. Visitors also got to try on a cleanroom suit and learn about nanotechnology research and IU-Bloomington.

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