January 12, 2011 — The University of Virginia's student chapter of the Materials Research Society was one of 15 university chapters nationwide awarded $6,000 grants in association with Public Broadcasting Service's "NOVA" program to raise public awareness about materials science.
In anticipation of its upcoming four-part series, "Making Stuff," NOVA sent out a challenge to MRS chapters across the country: How will you reach out to at least 2,000 people in the local community in advance of the program and raise awareness of materials science? The four parts of the series, which debut Jan. 19, are titled "Smarter," "Stronger," "Smaller" and "Cleaner."
In conjunction with the program, the U.Va. chapter is using its grant to sponsor a science fair for area high school students that challenges them to improve U.Va.'s Academical Village. Student finalists from Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna and Madison high schools will present posters of their ideas on Jan 20, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Dome Room of U.Va.'s Rotunda. Their projects will be judged by faculty members and graduate students from the U.Va. Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. Parents and teachers of the high school students will also attend.
Leading up to the science fair, U.Va. graduate students led two, day-long instructional sessions for local teachers and visited six high school science classes to teach materials science
"Between our efforts and those of participating high schools, over 30 high school science and math teachers and 300 high school students have had an introduction to materials science and engineering through this program," said Chris Petz, a Ph.D. student in the department and MRS chapter vice president.
Thursday's event will highlight 10 finalist project presentations.
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