The Wisconsin-Puerto Rico PREM will bring together deep and complementary expertise in the synthesis, characterization, modeling and application of multifunctional materials by developing synergies between research and educational outreach at University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) and three campuses of University of Puerto Rico (Mayagüez, Medical Sciences Campus and Rio Piedras), with a particular focus on leveraging resources of UW’s MRSEC to achieve sustainable collaborations. The proposed education and outreach activities build upon STEM outreach programs developed by the MRSEC Interdisciplinary Education Group and the internationally acclaimed UPR Science on Wheels Educational Center. The team will develop a series of research-inspired programs that collectively define a pathway that recruits, retains and advances people from all stages of the pipeline (K-12 through faculty) into STEM fields throughout Puerto Rico and Wisconsin, with a focus on Hispanic Americans and women.
The Wisconsin-Puerto Rico PREM will fulfill its mission by achieving the following goals:
- Develop multidisciplinary and multicultural research and educational opportunities for students, postdocs and faculty at UPR and UW, by focusing on shared research interests related to complex interfaces of advanced functional materials with potential applications ranging from sustainable chemical processes to pharmaceutical materials to separations processes;
- Leverage the UW MRSEC education group and the UPRM Science on Wheels (SONW) Education Center to develop a series of research-inspired interdisciplinary education programs that collectively define a pathway that recruits, retains and advances people from all stages of the pipeline (K-12 through faculty) into STEM careers throughout the island of Puerto Rico and in Wisconsin;
- Promote a culture of effective mentoring across the entire scope of the partnership at UPR and UW, including graduate student and postdoc mentoring for effectiveness in multicultural work groups, graduate student mentoring of undergraduate researchers, mentoring of teachers and high school students, mentoring of young faculty at both institutions regarding research, education, and career development
- Leverage the UW MRSEC and its UW Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium (AMIC) to provide UPR students and faculty with new opportunities to interact with industry in the Midwest of the US, and provide that industry with increased opportunities for recruitment of diverse employees.