Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

a 6-week nanotechnology research experience
at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Summer 2017 Program: June 28-August 8, 2017

nano@illinois REU Management

PI Xiuling Li
Co-PI Lynford Goddard
Program Manager Irfan Ahmad
Program Coordinator Carrie Kouadio
2016-2017 Flyer
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The nano@illinois Research Experience for Teachers (RET) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will annually (from 2014-2017) expose a diverse set of in-service and pre-service science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers and community college faculty from across the nation to cutting-edge research in nanotechnology. The RET will focus on recruiting underrepresented minority populations (focused on ethnicity, geography, disability, and veteran status) including women and will target teachers from high-need areas, including inner city, rural, low-income, and those with significant URM students. Participants will conduct research in world-class labs and engage in other activities over 6 weeks on a full-time basis, with 4 follow-up sessions during the school year. Participants will have possibilities to extend the RET for 2 years.

Teacher professional development will include teacher-focused lectures, ethics seminars, hands-on modules, STEM education issues, career choices, and resources for implementing a nano lab and curriculum. With interest and experience in K-14 education, faculty's and staff's commitment to this RET Site will ensure positive outcomes for the teachers and their students. The RET Site will leverage institutional knowledge and educational resources developed through the NSF Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS).

Each teacher will develop a high-quality multi-day instructional module with associated instructional resources that is grounded in the research conducted throughout the summer and research area worked in. In addition to teaching this module to students and collecting data on its integration in your classroom, this module will be shared nationwide through nanotechnology hubs. 

High-quality follow-up sessions and evaluation will be infused.

Benefits Include

Who Should Apply?

  • $7000 Stipend (Teachers)
  • $3500 Stipend (Pre-service Teachers)
  • Materials stipend
  • Travel support
  • Room and board
  • Hands-on research
  • Faculty/Peer mentoring
  • Professional development
  • Networking
  • Partnership with Summer Research Opportunities Program
  • Applicants must be practicing science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) teachers/community college faculty who have bachelor’s degrees or higher in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education or a STEM-related field OR pre-service STEM teachers who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM education program (as a rising junior or higher).
  • Applicants must be U. S. citizens, U. S. nationals, or permanent residents.
  • Applicants must have an average technical grade point average of 3.0/4.0.
  • The selection committee supports diversity among RET participants and their school populations.

For the 2017 program, applications open in
January 2016.


We will begin to review applications before the due date, (semi-rolling applications), so it is best to submit as soon as you are able.

After application submission, you will be directed to submit your unofficial transcript, resume/CV, and an administrator letter of recommendation.


Research Areas

Computational and theoretical nanotechnology
Nanoelectronics and nanophotonics
Nanomaterials and nanomechanics
Nano-electricalmechanical systems (NEMS)/Micro-electricalmechanical systems (MEMS)
Societal and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology and Assessment


Examples of Teacher Research Projects and RET Related Campus Resources


nano@illinois RET Pictures



nano@illinois RET leadership (Carrie Kouadio, Irfan Ahmad, Lynford Goddard, and Xiuling Li) presentation at Illinois Math and Science Conference in Peoria, IL on October 7, 2016

Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology to present on nano@illinois Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) at National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference on October 27, 2016

"nano@illinois RET Participant Tatiana Stine Hopes to Help Expose Youngsters to Nanotechnology"

"nano@illinois RET Teachers Discover Nanotechnology's Big Impact—Hope Their Students Will Too"

"MNTL and its Role in Shaping our Future"

Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology/nano@illinois RET Participant's 2016 Engineering Open House Exhibit Wins 3rd Place in "Most Innovative Exhibit" Category

nano@illinois RET Presentation at Illinois Science Education Conference in Fall 2015

"Local Biology Teacher to Introduce her Students to Research on Quantum Dots"

"K-12 Teachers Gain Experience with Nanotechnology Research"

"Local Science Teachers Experience Research in Nanotechnology"

nano@illinois RET Participant's 2015 Engineering Open House Exhibit Wins 2nd Place in "Most Innovative Exhibit" Category

Questions? Contact:

Photo of Carrie Kouadio.

Carrie Kouadio
nano@illinois RET Program Coordinator