Our group is committed to scientific communication through STEM outreach, education, and mentoring programs, and we are always looking for opportunities to engage with students, fellow scientists, and the local community.

MSE 481: Sustainable Materials Design (Fall semester)
This course is focused on the economic, environmental, and social impact of materials and processes.  The course covers global sustainability challenges, engineering design, engineering economics, materials resources and pollution, materials life cycle, ecological footprint, eco-informed materials selection, and sustainability-relevant policy. The course will provide fundamental concepts and tools to perform life cycle assessments, techno-economic analysis, ecoaudits, and other methodology relevant to sustainable technology development. These concepts and methodologies will be applied in case studies and design projects centered around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 
MSE 593: Soft Robotic Materials (Winter semester)
While traditional robots are typically composed of rigid and brittle materials, the growing field of soft robotics explores flexible and deformable materials to achieve compliance and properties akin to that of biological systems, safer for physical interaction with humans and for operation in dynamic environments. However, the use of soft materials in robotics restricts traditional approaches in design, actuation, and power, especially at milli- and microscales. This course will explore fundamentals in smart programmable materials and new approaches in soft actuation across length scales, with focus on leveraging the properties and structures of soft materials for programmable complex actuation.
Courses previously taught (pre-UM)

Engineering Science and Mechanics Department (Penn State)

EMCH 212: Dynamics

Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization (Penn State) (labs)

ESC 211: Materials, Safety, and Equipment Overview for Nanotechnology
ESC 212: Basic Nanotechnology Processes
ESC 213: Materials in Nanotechnology
ESC 214: Patterning for Nanotechnology
ESC 215: Nanotechnology Applications
ESC 216: Characterization, Testing of Nanotechnology Structures and Materials

Engineering Science and Mechanics Department (Penn State) (labs)

ESC 412: Nanotechnology: Materials, Infrastructure, and Safety
ESC 520: Engineering at the Nano-scale
ESC 521: Pattern Transfer at the Nano-scale
ESC 522: Fabrication and Characterization for Top-down Nano-manufacturing
ESC 523: Fabrication and Characterization for Bottom-up Nano-manufacturing

STEM Outreach

Materials Research Society (MRS) mentor for undergraduate students

Broadening Participation in Materials Science - Undergraduate Student Program

The MRS Undergraduate Student Mentoring Program pairs undergraduate, underrepresented students with graduate student and postdoc mentors who help them navigate the next steps in their education and career.

Scientific communication

Guest writer in online scientific blogs, including Soft Bites and Nature Research Community

TV and online interviews discussing our work on biopolymers and materials for sustainability


Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK)

NSF National ATE Center for Nanotechnology Workforce Development

Nanotechnology workshops for high-school and college educators

"Nano4Me - Education & Careers in Nanotechnology" - Nanotech training videos


Remotely Accessible Instruments for Nanotechnology network (RAIN)  

RAIN provides remotely accessible scientific equipment for STEM students, connecting them to expert scientists and nanotechnology tools in their day-to-day classrooms, lowering the barrier-to-entry to such instrumentation. This program is free of charge and is particularly aimed at underrepresented and minority learners, as well as institutions that cannot provide ready access to specialized facilities, tools, and expertise for the study of nanoscale science.


An example is a collaborative project with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where we performed multidisciplinary science experiments in K-12 classrooms in Southern California, promoting engagement in science in over 800 students (predominantly from Hispanic/Latino low-income minority communities). Read the paper here.

Rodriguez, et al., JOTSE 8.1 (2018): 86-95

Science summer camp, Step by Step School for Early Learning, State College (PA, USA)

Biomimicry workshop for kindergarden through 5th grade students