Apprentice Researchers (AR) started at QUEST in 1991 and places high school students and teachers to summer internships in UCSB laboratories. The program is currently a four week summer experience that recruits high school juniors from local schools. In 1993 the first interns from Santa Barbara City College took part in City College Interns in Materials Research (CCIMP) an 8 week summer research experience at the Materials Research Laboratory. In 2001 that program was expanded, with NSF support, to Interns in Science, Engineering and Technology (INSET). This program now also collaborates with the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) to include societal issues relating to nanotechnology. INSET now recruits community college students from colleges across California.
Expanding Pathways to Science, Engineering and Technology (EPSEM) builds on the previous collaboration with community college faculty to recruit students to a two week summer residential experience where they meet graduate and peer mentors who introduce them to the academic and research culture. This experience is designed to build networks and inform their future career decisions with regard to transfer to 4 year degree programs in science, technology and math disciplines (STEM).
Science Partnership for School Innovation (SPSI) created a network of over 40 secondary science teachers from Santa Barbara County between 1993-99. They attended a summer institute and academic year workshops to plan new science activities with UCSB scientists and educators. Many of these teachers subsequently took part in the Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program, coordinated by MRL. CNSI currently partners with local teachers in Let's Explore Applied Physical Science (LEAPS), an NSF supported GK-12 program that funds Graduate Fellows who visit Grade 8 classrooms to assist with investigative group work in Physical Science.
From initial visits to Family Science Fairs, often to demonstrate QUESTboards, CNSI now organizes a series of after school clubs and Family Ultimate Science Exploration (FUSE) events. UCSB undergraduates take the role of instructors in the clubs that take place at elementary, middle school and high school sites. UCSB graduate students play the lead role at the Family Science events as well as acting as coaches for junior high students in the planning and production of Science Fair projects. The Santa Barbara Science Fair is held on the UCSB campus in the third week of April.
Graduate Student Professional Development
Most of CNSI's education programs engage research faculty and graduate students as speakers and research mentors. These programs offer the chance to gain valuable experience in communication, project management and instructional expertise. Since 2002, CNSI has created opportunities for graduate student researchers to enhance their coummunication skills and their instructional expertise. For example, our most recent program, Insights in Science and Technology in Society (INSCITES) selects three graduate students from a range of engineering, science and social science disciplines who work as a team to develop a curriculum for a general education course that is given each Spring. In turn these young scientists and engineers have become influential role models for younger students in Southern California.