The summer of 2008 has become the most active season for outreach to diverse groups for the UPRM/UW PREM. Besides the scheduled research activities involving public high school teachers, this PREM partnered with other UPRM initiatives intended to attract and retain students interested in Engineering and Science.
In early July five teachers from Mayagüez, Cabo Rojo, and San Sebastián have completed their projects on themes ranging from nanoparticles for explosive detection to synthesis of high coercivity nanostructured oxides. The outcomes of the projects were praised by representatives from the Puerto Rico Department of Education who attended the final presentations.
PREM has also partnered with the UPRM Dept. of Mechanical Engineering to provide the necessary materials laboratory environment for Summer Camp intended to attract female students to the program. The young visitors toured the facilities (the largest UPRM materials-dedicated laboratories) and were introduced to the wonders of materials. Similarly, a select group of 11-grade students hosted by the UPRM Pre-Engineering office and students from the Interamerican University at Bayamón, Puerto Rico benefitted from this arrangement.
Additionally, PREM's Outreach and Education Office assisted UPRM's Access and Success (CUA in Spanish) Project, a campus-wide initiative that has been working on the connections between socio-economic status and access to higher education.
In Puerto Rico students from low-income households are largely underrepresented in public higher education, resulting from inequalities in K-12 education. Through an action research paradigm a context of outreach activities was established involving, in the process, low-income active UPRM students as research assistants and outreach leaders. Currently the focus is on students from public housing communities in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. The young visitors enjoyed the "magic" of materials and learned how this "magic" involves science and lots of dedication.