October 13, 2008

Area Students Learn About Nanotechnology

By: by News Channel 9


ALBANY, N.Y. -- More than 300 students from all over New York State are getting an up-close look at nanotechnology. Student Hasson Nharris said, "All this crazy technology, it's like, woah, it's amazing."

UAlbany now hosts a career fair four times a year so students can figure out what high tech is all about.

UAlbany Assistant Professor Kathy Dunn said, "They drive by on the street and they can see that we have this big ship building or these beautiful glass buildings, but they don't know what goes on here. And so, to be able to come inside, I mean, I think that's a huge advantage to us."

The National Science Foundation estimates that by the year 2014, there will be a need for over two million nanotech jobs, and UAlbany is hoping to keep a lot of them here.

Dunn said, "We want to keep them here in New York State. This is a great place to be, and it's great that New York State is investing in this." 

Though initially kids in middle school are interested in the field, by the time junior high rolls around, the clean room loses some of its appeal.

Dunn said, "We need to get them interested and to get over that barrier of what they think their peers are going to think about what they do and get them really involved in it. We're losing a lot of great minds by just not getting them hooked at an early enough age."

So to keep the kids interested, they break it down to a level that they can understand - like how does nanotechnology play a role in your video games, your iPod, or even your cell phone?
Dunn said, "Real examples like that where you can say something they know in their everyday life - a flu virus, a human hair, any of those things."

And by giving the kids an all-access view of what it all looks like, it seems to be working.

"This is an awesome place," said Hasson, "and I'm glad to be here."

With AMD bringing in an estimated 1,400 jobs in the year 2012, he just might still be.