Summer course introduces nanomaterials to high school students

Kaitlyn Landram

Oct 3, 2022

At Carnegie Mellon University, high school students have the opportunity to earn college credit while working in an academic setting that mirrors the supportive rigorous environment of the first year of college. Michael Bockstaller, Materials Science and Engineering professor, has been introducing high school sophomores to the fundamentals of materials science and nanotechnology since 2009. 

“This program gave me the opportunity to teach a course that I felt was missing from our current schedule of courses.” Bockstaller explained. 

The course, Introduction to NanoScience and Technology, provides students with a holistic view of the objectives, opportunities and challenges of the emerging field of nanotechnology and nanomaterials while sensitizing them to its interdisciplinary nature. Bockstaller was always interested in teaching the field of nanotechnology in a more comprehensive manner, as it is an emerging area that is projected to have a profound impact on society. 

Discovery happens at the intersection of all branches of science and engineering

Michael Bockstaller, Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

“Successful engineers benefit from the work of researchers across disciplines. While students may become an expert in Materials Science and Engineering, I want them to understand that discovery happens at the intersection of all branches of science and engineering,” said Bockstaller.

Each year, the class is made up of around 15 students from all over the world. A large portion of which end up pursuing higher education in engineering. Bockstaller realized in the early years of the course that most students had little to none previous exposure to Materials Science and Engineering. Since nanomaterial science and technology can be considered to be a branch of materials research, he also views this course as an opportunity to also introduce students to the field of materials science and engineering. 

A version of the course (99-239) is also offered to current CMU students during the summer session.