April 25, 2019  

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Southern Miss Awarded NISE Network Grant

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University Libraries, the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Southern Mississippi were recently awarded a Nanoscale Informal Science Education (NISE) Network mini-grant to develop a nanoscience-based outreach program for non-science teachers and librarians.

This program was presented in a workshop to participants of the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival held in April at Southern Miss, and will also be added to nisenet.org, an online digital library of public nano educational products and tools designed for educators and scientists.

The goal of the project is to bring awareness to and inspire interest in nanoscale science to school librarians, children book authors, and illustrators; in an effort to reach new audiences with nano programming. Tracy Englert, associate professor and reference librarian in Cook Library, and Dr. Stacy Creel, assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science discussed and demonstrated appropriate materials for the project at the festival, including NISE program resources, to help school and public librarians develop their library collections and increase science programming with nano-related resources.

Dr. Song Guo and Dr. Julie Pigza, assistant professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, presented an overview of basic nanoscience concepts at the festival. They also facilitated and taught hands-on activities, appropriate for libraries or classrooms designed to help participants engage with nano concepts.

“After working with Stacy, Song and Julie during our successful Cook Library NanoDays festival in March 2014, we became interested in providing a professional development program to engage librarians and teachers with nanotechnology and enhance the existing NISE Net’s Nano Reading Program,” said Englert of the grant award. “The Children’s Book Festival was a perfect vehicle to reach audiences not typically targeted by informal science education.”

Items include career resources, children's books suitable for read-aloud story-times and graphic novels, as well as games, and crafts related to nano science. Selected Books about Nano were made available for workshop participants as well as all festival attendees, and for the nisenet.org online catalog programs. Evaluation data will be collected from surveys given to participants.

Anticipated outcomes of the project are that book festival participants are engaged with nanoscale science and enabled to better identify, access and use NISE resources. Increasing these educators' knowledge of nanoscale science and NISE resources will motivate them to select nano-related materials for collections and provide nano-programming in schools and libraries. These educational resources provided at schools and libraries, will in turn, promote knowledge and interest in nanoscale science.
 
The NISE Network launched in 2005 with the Science Museum of Minnesota and San Francisco's Exploratorium. It brings together researchers and science museum educators to create activities that explain the world at the scale of atoms, and offers a range of activities such as NanoDays, a nationwide festival of activities celebrating advances in nanotechnology research, and also conducts original research and evaluation of the network's impact on informal science education. For more information on the NISE Network, visit http://www.nisenet.org/.