October 29, 2007

UAlbany NanoCollege Plans Events At Albany NanoTech To Educate Local Middle-School Students And Teachers

By: by Steve Janack, CNSE


ALBANY - October 29, 2007- The 7th annual Capital District Future City Competition will be receiving welcomed support this year from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany, which will host and present two educational programs designed to prepare both students and teachers for the competition.

As a major local sponsor, CNSE will be hosting an introductory educational session on nanoscale science on Monday, October 29 at 5 pm for the 40 local teachers who have enrolled their students in the Capital District Future City Competition. On Thursday, November 8 at 4 pm, a second program involving presentations, tours and interactive demonstrations will be presented for more than 200 students participating in this year's competition. Both events will take place at CNSE's world-class Albany NanoTech complex.

Each year the National Office of the Future City Competition seeks to challenge both students and teachers with an essay that is both related to current events and can be projected into the future. This year, inspired by the I-35W bridge collapse in Minnesota and other failings in the country's aging infrastructure, the selected essay topic sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is "Keeping Our Future City's Infrastructure Healthy: Using Nanotechnology To Monitor City Structures and Systems."

"The UAlbany NanoCollege is delighted with the opportunity to assist both the students and teachers as they prepare for the Capital District Future City Competition," said Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of CNSE. "We applaud the dedicated efforts and strong support of numerous organizers, volunteers and sponsors in putting together this exciting event, through which students from throughout the region will begin to see the vital role that nanotechnology is playing in enabling groundbreaking applications and growing career opportunities in their own backyard."    

The teachers will be joining experts on October 29 at the NanoCollege for a tour of CNSE's Albany NanoTech complex and discussions with Associate Professor of Nanoscience Bradley Thiel, Senior Lithography Equipment Engineer Darren Brookhart, Engineer Jeremy Snyder and Research Scientist Wenzhen Li. The teachers will learn what nanotechnology is and what its possibilities are when applied to electronic monitoring systems in response to this year's essay topic.  

During the November 8 program, students and parents will attend a presentation, tours and interactive demonstrations led by Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Nathaniel Cady, Assistant Professor of Nanoengineering Michael Carpenter and Associate Professor of Nanoscience Vincent LaBella.  These programs will illustrate the principles of nanotechnology sensors in monitoring the health of a city, and better prepare students to answer the essay question as part of their future city project. 

Each year the Capital District Future City Competition Planning Committee develops educational training for teachers, mentors and students from the engineering community to prepare all participants including the teachers for learning to work with the chosen topic.

"We are very fortunate to have the leading nanotechnology facility in the world located right here in the Capital District.  The tutorial program planned by CNSE will provide the program's participants with a unique hands-on experience with the possibilities of nanotechnology," said Future City Regional Coordinator Jennifer Smith who volunteers her time with the competition each year. Ms. Smith is also an engineer Plug Power.

"The Capital Region is fortunate to be resource-rich with experts who have much to offer the community and its students.  This is a way the engineering community can selflessly share the expertise and knowledge it holds, for the good of the Capital Region and beyond" said Larry Fairchild, P.E., Partner and Chief Engineering & Technical Officer at Clough Harbour & Associates LLP, and a key advisor to the competition's volunteers.

The Future City Competition presents middle school teams with the challenge of designing a city of the future.  Student teams work with their teacher and engineer mentor to apply math, science and engineering concepts to their future city.  The regional competition's major sponsors, donating talent, time and resources, include Hudson Valley Community College, Lafarge North America, Plug Power, Inc., Clough Harbour & Associates, LLP, and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Albany is the Capital Region's local site of National Engineers Week Future City Competition TM, the nation's largest and most successful nonprofit engineering education program to date, currently in its 16th year.  For more information, please visit http://www.futurecity.org/