Nexus Outreach Programs

One way we are utilizing the Mines-NREL relationship to make a positive contribution is with our outreach programs. Nexus supports several different projects – SWEET Workshop, Materials REU, Rocky Mountain Camp for Kids with Dyslexia and Rocky Mountain MESA.

Through these programs, Nexus creates educational environments that promote diversity and inclusivity within STEM. We get to know students and their individual differences and culture, to build confidence, give knowledge and raise awareness about STEM careers.

Impacts of these outreach program include increased exposure to tech use, creative teamwork, scientific experimentation and learning research methods. 

Middle to high school students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students, get assistance from every single one of these programs.  Teachers are particularly benefited through the SWEET workshop and Rocky Mountain MESA. Whether it is in the lab, the classroom, out in the field or in a virtual space, Nexus is committed to improving access to and building a strong future for science, technology, engineering and math. We are truly benefitting STEM education and workforce in a deep and meaningful way!

Research Experience for Undergraduates

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The Materials REU, Research Experience for Undergraduates, goes end of May through early August. Undergraduate students come to Mines and spend 11 weeks living on campus and working with an assigned research group.

REU participants help on the actual research, they receive mentorship and participate in technical and professional development coursework.

Under the guidance of a specially appointed faculty advisor and their research team and the REU director, participants work on a real research team. They meet as a class, work in labs, report on their findings and are responsible for the research outcomes.

Participants receive a stipend for the summer, are provided room and board at Mines, and receive a travel allowance.

The results are long-standing friendships and professional relationships, technical research skills and the

 experience of living and working for a summer on the beautiful Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden, Colorado.

Summer Workshop on Energy Education for Teachers

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A demonstration of NREL’s Hydrogen car, SWEET 2022.

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In the early days of summer, Nexus hosts SWEET, the Summer Workshop on Energy Education for Teachers (SWEET).  For 2 days, about twenty-five Colorado high school teachers come together to learn cutting edge technology, the best and most current knowledge and work through hands-on activities and materials for energy education. Subjects are taught by esteemed Mines professors, staff and scientists at NREL.

Topics are newly designed each year, with the 2021 content focused on Plastics Recycling; Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage; Catalysis & the Haber Process; Hydrogen Generation; and Reading, Writing and Art across STEAM.

Content from 2022 included Hydrogen, Transport & Energy Storage, Equity for the Transition, Electrification of Transport, Carbon Capture, and labs.

Teacher participants earn continuing education credits, are paid a stipend (if available) and are provided all materials to do the experiments at the workshop, and to take back to their schools.

This workshop is led by multiple seasoned Mines professors, collaborating with NREL researchers and education program managers.

Rocky Mountain Camp for Kids with Dyslexia

IMG_2832-resized-1 OutreachThe Rocky Mountain Camp for Kids with Dyslexia serves 40 students drawn from across the country – about 25% of camp attendees come from out of state – and includes students that range in ages from 7 to 13. All camp attendees have been diagnosed with the learning disability of dyslexia. Camp activities include hands-on modules, all based on STEM concepts. These modules provide an immediate feedback loop and are pilot tested and refined with the dyslexia camp instructional experts. Colorado School of Mines faculty volunteer as part of the outreach arm of Nexus. The faculty lead several days of fun, engaging and educational STEM programming for the kids.

Rocky Mountain MESA

While solving world problems and combining the prowess of students of all ages with industry professionals, Rocky Mountain MESA students transcend traditional STEM outcomes and pathways to optimize successful leadership in industry, research and service and are an integral solution to the global STEM workforce demands of tomorrow.

RM MESA is a statewide/regional organization for traditionally underserved and underrepresented students and provides tools, technologies, resources and collaborative partnerships with key higher education and industry professionals. The goal is to optimize grades K-14 student preparation and success for leadership in tomorrow’s diverse STEM workforce. By forming partnerships with businesses, school districts and academia, RM MESA strengthens K-14 education. By operating within Mines/NREL Nexus, Rocky Mountain MESA helps to cultivate a campus culture that supports and celebrates traditionally underserved and underrepresented students in STEM achievement across all centers/sites.

Rocky Mountain MESA is part of a larger national organization, MESA USA. For over 50 years, MESA USA has helped students become scientists, engineers and mathematicians, as well as prominent leaders in their fields. Nexus is proud to support RM MESA.

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RM MESA August 2022, teacher and mentor training workshop

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Outreach Program Directors

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Corinne Packard

co-Director, Camp for Kids with Dyslexia

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Brian Trewyn

co-Director, SWEET and Camp for Kids with Dyslexia

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Eric Toberer

Director, Materials REU

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Carolyn Koh

co-Director, SWEET Workshop

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Ryan Richards

co-Director, SWEET Workshop and Camp for Kids with Dyslexia

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Ellen Morris

co-Director, SWEET

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Tom Mason

co-planner, SWEET

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Cynthia Howell

Director, Rocky Mountain MESA