Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

June 4 – July 27, 2018


Applications are closed for 2018

Purdue University’s Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR) hosts a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Teachers (RET). 

Teachers conducting research in a lab

CISTAR will develop technologies for responsible conversion of light hydrocarbons from shale gas into fuels and chemicals using a network of portable, modular processing plants. Led by Purdue University in partnership with the University of New Mexico, Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas at Austin, CISTAR could enable lower carbon emissions and improved energy efficiency, and provide a viable bridge to a sustainable energy future.

The goal of the RET program at Purdue is to provide opportunities for STEM teachers to engage in hands-on research projects with faculty mentors in Chemical Engineering.  Engineering, technology, science, and math teachers are eligible to apply. Teachers receive a stipend of $8,000 for participation in the eight-week summer program, with an additional $2000 for implementing, assessing and disseminating lesson materials.

The program has projects in the following research areas:

  • Synthesis of Nanomaterials and Nanoscale Structures
  • Catalyst Characterization, Spectroscopy, and Imaging
  • Materials Discovery and Development
  • Chemical Kinetics and Catalysis
  • Theory, Modeling and Electronic Structure Calculations

Eligible teachers must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. 

Program Phases

Teacher activities during the summer are divided into three phases

Phase 1 (the first week) will comprise an orientation week that will include an introduction to engineering, training in research methods and ethics, an introduction to best practices in teaching engineering and cohort-building. 

Phase 2 will be focused on the teachers’ development as researchers in their respective research teams. The group will develop, share and discuss approaches for integrating the research experiences and outcomes into the HS curricula. Discussions will include basing the curriculum on science standards. Additional teacher activities include field trips to facilities related to the theme of strategic transformation of alkane resources and interaction with an Industrial Advisory board.

Phase 3 (week 8) Final presentations, discussions and summative evaluations and closure.

Following the eight-week program, research mentors will maintain contact and provide support to teachers as they implement the high school curricula during the 2018-2019 school year.

We are no longer accepting applications for 2018, please check back for 2019 opportunities.