About 100 business leaders, educators and others from the University of Notre Dame and the surrounding community participated in the Memorial Community Plunge, “Nanotechnology – The Power of Small,” on Nov. 4 in McKenna Hall. The event, organized by Memorial Hospital, included nano demonstrations by NDeRC graduate students and Penn High School teachers, talks by Robert Dunn, managing director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology at the University of Notre Dame (NDnano) and Kathy Eggleson, associate director of the Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values, and a tour of Stinson-Remick Hall.
Valerie Goss, a Notre Dame extended Research Community (NDeRC) graduate fellow, said the event aims to increase understanding and collaboration in the community, including education initiatives. Goss and another graduate fellow, Rebecca Quardokus, are both PhD students in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. A third, Michael Crocker, is a PhD student in Computer Science & Engineering. Together, the three graduate students developed NANOweek, a program that will be in about 25 classrooms with a total of 500 students this academic year.
NDeRC held two Institutes of Learning in the summer, one for K-7 teachers and another for 8-12teachers. A binder produced from the experience provides classroom materials for teachers, focused on hands-on activities, Graduate fellows are visiting the schools to follow up the experience. Teachers in more than a dozen schools participate.
Goss, advised by associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Marya Lieberman, is doing research in molecular electronics. The group is using DNA origami, manipulating DNA to make different nanostructure shapes. “We have collaborations in engineering and computer engineering,” she said. “There’s a lot of collaboration. Collaboration in science is what NDeRC is all about.”