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  1. ABSTRACT In 2015 the West Houston Center for Science & Engineering (WHC), Houston Community College, was awarded funding by the National Science Foundation (DMR) to develop a pilot materials science program, Research Experiences and Exploration in Materials Science (REEMS), focused on introducing materials science to aspiring science & engineering community college students. This multifaceted program provides an opportunity for students from a broad array of interests, backgrounds and ages to gain an appreciation for materials science with respect to their academic and career pursuits. Over the approximately four-year duration of the program, REEMS introduces materials science over the academic year through a voluntary seminar series, and, for a select group of students, participation in summer research experiences at collaborating universities. Academic year activities include conferences with the WHC-REEMS transfer advisor, seminars discussing an overview of materials science, the investigation of the roles of materials science in addressing pressing societal issues, and networking with graduate students, university upper division students, materials research faculty and professionals. This paper will provide an overview of the WHC – REEMS program synergies, impacts and partnership dynamics with participating universities: Rice University, the University of Houston, and the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston. 
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  2. ABSTRACT Collaborations between community colleges, non-research centered universities and research universities can enrich the flow of students into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) majors and careers. The nation is beginning to understand the importance of such interaction especially with under-represented minorities and those with disabilities. For over fifteen years our group has developed new ways to integrate these students and their faculty to the research culture. This will lead to increased diversity and inform research university faculty of the great talent that is latent in these underserved pools. 
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  3. ABSTRACT The Connecticut (CT) State Colleges and Universities’ College of Technology (COT) and its Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RCNGM), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Excellence, educate manufacturing technicians with necessary skills as needed by the manufacturing industry. The COT-RCNGM continuously broadens its partnerships with other community colleges, high schools and industry in New England and at the national and international levels to provide support and expertise to both students and educators in advanced manufacturing programs. The COT was founded in 1995 through state legislation to create and implement seamless pathways in engineering and technology. This system-wide collaboration of all twelve CT public community colleges, including seven state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers (AMTC) at CT’s community colleges; eight public and private universities; technical high and comprehensive high schools; and representatives from industry, including the CT Business & Industry Association (CBIA) which represents 10,000 companies. The pathways have multiple points of entry and exit for job placement and stackable credentials for degree completion, including national certifications that have increased enrollments and created program stability. The COT is led by the Site Coordinators Council that meets monthly and consists of faculty and deans from all COT educational partners and representatives from industry and government. The Council identifies and reviews new programs, concentrations, and certificates based on industry needs and creates seamless articulated pathways. Final approval is often completed within three months for immediate implementation, allowing a timely response to workforce needs. The COT-RCNGM partners with CBIA to conduct a biannual survey of manufacturing workforce needs in CT. Educators use the survey to identify curricular needs and support funding proposals for educational programs. Asnuntuck Community College, the original AMTC, was able to use industry data from the survey to help create new programs. The RCNGM partners with other NSF grants and entities such as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The COT-RCNGM produced DVDs profiling students who have completed COT programs and work in CT manufacturing companies. The Manufacture Your Future 2.0 and the You Belong: Women in Manufacturing DVDs are distributed nationally to increase knowledge of career opportunities in manufacturing. Finally, the COT-RCNGM organizes the Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire that brings together community members of all ages and backgrounds to share projects that promote interest in STEM fields. Participation in the Maker Movement led to involvement in a national network of Maker Faire organizers including a meeting at the White House where one organizer from each state was invited to attend and discuss the national impact of Makers. 
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  4. ABSTRACT The need to improve Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) provision in Greek secondary schools offers opportunities for innovation. This study shows results of applying a more integrated, collaborative and interactive approach, developed by using elements of the Impact of Materials on Society (IMOS) course. The modules and techniques selected for teacher training and classroom implementation are presented and responses from participants are summarised. Positive feedback from the two teacher training activities and two in-class sessions with students demonstrates the potential of this approach. The paper offers evidence that a systems approach to ESD is promising and worthy of further investigation. 
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  5. ABSTRACT For many years, comprehensive data demonstrate a persistent lack of interest in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students in European and North American countries. This lack of interest is regarded as one reason causing underrepresentation of diversity, especially that of female students within the field of STEM. Obviously, students—although possibly highly talented—refrain from choosing STEM careers only because their attention is not sufficiently attracted to STEM at the right time at the right place. In particular, this fact significantly affects the field of material research and, therefore, identifying opportunities for sparking students’ interest in materials is a crucial challenge in the framework of a modern STEM education. Here, we present the outline of the novel project “Metal Matters”, which aims at establishing an interdisciplinary approach to foster the field of materials in education. In essence, our research focusses on the omnipresence of metal as material. By exploring the K-16 continuum, we aim to identify windows of opportunities for raising awareness of the relevance of materials. Our approach is to stimulate interest in the relevance of materials by explicitly promoting metal as a topic across the curriculum. Our project is deliberately not restricted to STEM, but also covers history, society, economy, health, sports, literature, and language. Here, we present one part of the project contrasting the scientific relevance of metal with the students’ ideas about metal. For the present exploration and data collection, we employed a mixed-method design consisting of linguistic frequency analysis of scientific publications as well as the qualitative analysis of students’ written responses and drawings. 
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  6. ABSTRACT This is a cross institution project involving four Institutes of Technology in Ireland. The objective of this project is to assess the use of technology to enhance the assessment of laboratory sessions in Science and Health. In science, health and engineering, the laboratory sessions are at the core of the learning process for skill development. These laboratory sessions focus on the skills acquisition. The Irish Institute of Technology sector, in particular, develops these skills and considers them essential for ‘professionally ready’ graduates. In terms of student progression and retention, the assessment structure has been identified as having a significant impact on student engagement. The Technology Enhanced Assessment Methods (TEAM) project led by Dundalk Institute of Technology and partnering with Institute of Technology Sligo, Athlone Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Carlow is exploring the potential offered by digital technologies to address these concerns. It aims to develop a framework for applying the principles of effective assessment and feedback to practical assessment. The TEAM project also aims to facilitate dialogue among stakeholders about what it is we want student to learn in laboratory sessions and how our assessment can facilitate this. A peer network of discipline-specific academics and students in the Science and Health field has been established across all four Institutes. As the network focuses on authentic skills assessment in all core modules, including physics and chemistry, the best practice from this project will inform future assessment procedures across laboratory sessions and may be considered for application within a Science and Materials Engineering context. Assessing the skills acquired in this environment takes many forms. Using student and stakeholder feedback along with an extensive literature review of the area, the team identified key technologies that cut across science and health disciplines, with the potential to influence and enable the learning process. The emphasis was on developing a powerful learning environment approach to enable students to deepen their learning through engagement with the process. The areas identified are: (i) Pre-practical preparation (videos and quizzes), (ii) Electronic laboratory notebooks and ePortfolios, (iii) Digital Feedback technologies and (iv) Rubrics). This paper describes the student experience and perceptions of the adoption of digital technology in science practical assessments. It also describes the process involved in setting up the pilot structure and it presents the initial results from the student survey. 
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  7. ABSTRACT Those involved in STEM outreach, from elementary schools through undergraduate students, all use varying teaching styles in an effort to instruct and inspire students. However, it is incredibly difficult to gauge or compare learning outcomes from new teaching techniques in situ. In this work, we describe the outcomes of a new undergraduate mini-course at Johns Hopkins University, Chocolate: An Introduction to Materials Science. In particular, the outcomes of teaching binary phase diagrams in this course using topical food examples were compared to the outcomes of the same instructor teaching a similar control group of students using standard textbook examples, reducing a number of confounding factors and allowing us to objectively analyze the benefits of using an atypical, popular approach to teach a standard subject. Results indicate that the students in the Chocolate course were not only more excited and engaged in the lecture, but they had identical or potentially greater learning gains than the control group. 
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