SAN DIEGO—June 2, 2015—NanoTecNexus (NTN) Learning Group, an award-winning nanotech educational organization that invests in the industry/academia/K-12 ecosystem, today announced its lineup of interns for 2015. The six interns include four university students from the University of California San Diego—three of whom are Brazilian exchange students—as well as two San Diego high school students.

The 2015 interns were chosen for their high academic achievements and passion for promoting STEM education. The team consists of Ian Lee studying Mechanical Engineering and Alex Krotz, a junior at Torrey Pines High School who continued part-time after starting last summer. Joining them are three award recipients of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program administered by the Institute of International Education and currently studying Chemical Engineering. They are Fernanda Costa de Sousa, Leticia Vanzetto, and Vicky Adrielli Rambo Cerioli. Rounding out the team is Ashwath Raj, a sophomore at Del Norte High School who joined in March and hit the ground running with a self-directed project.

Internship Program designed to be a win-win-win

According to NTN Founder and CEO, Adriana Vela, before launching its intern program, NTN researched similar efforts from leading companies for best practices and models that could be incorporate to ensure the program’s success.

Based on those findings, the NTN program strives to provide interns with real-world business and operational skills in a start-up dedicated to social improvement. It does not matter if interns are pursuing chemical, mechanical, biotech, or other engineering/science programs because they all are integral to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and there are many pathways toward nanoengineering. In addition, the ability to understand the relationships of interdisciplinary fields is critical to understanding a career path, Vela clarified.

“Engaging in activities that help convey science and engineering concepts to K-12 and the general public enhances long-term learning of the subject matter, as well as communication and presentation skills, which are a critical component of professional development and career planning,” Vela noted. She added that the interns will also be able to expand their knowledge and understanding of potential nanotechnology careers.

Because research has shown that K-12 students respond well to other students and/or peers, this innovative “pay-it-forward” intern program is focused on the creation and delivery of hands-on activities, demos, and presentations. “Our model uses project-based learning, cognitive coaching, project management and other practical skills to create a work-life experience while helping them to teach and inspire younger students. The result is a win-win-win, where K-12 students gain inspiration, interns prosper with new skills and positive experience, and NTN fulfills its mission of promoting nanoscale STEM education,” Vela explained.

Each volunteer intern position is managed by an NTN board member, and programs are designed around specific projects that offer a collaborative environment for the interns. Throughout the program, NTN works directly with its interns to develop, refine, and assign projects that meet the learning objectives of the intern as well as the operational needs of NTN constituents—a model that is proving effective.

In 2014, the popular Do-U-Nano?™ app resulted from a winning collaboration between NTN interns and the SmartGenies, Inc. virtual conversation platform. The six 2014 interns combined knowledge gained from their individual projects to design an interactive multimedia experience that is fun and user-friendly. The mobile app is available for iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) via iTunes/App Store and Android devices via Google Play Store. The Web version is available onsite on the NTN Resources/Explore Nanotechnology page.

“Our vision is to change lives in underserved communities through nanoscale STEM education because 15 out of the 20 fastest growing careers demand STEM knowledge,” Vela said. “By providing nanoscale STEM programs and education, we offer a pathway to better, more relevant opportunities for students who may not have considered STEM careers as an option.”

With this new crop of interns, NTN continues to deliver on its promise to create high-quality internship experiences with relevant, socially driven projects. Information on the NTN internship program is located at nanotecnexus.org/internships.
About NanoTecNexus Learning Group
NanoTecNexus (NTN) Learning Group focuses on inspiring K-12 students to pursue STEM education careers and transforming how individuals learn about nanotechnology and its impact on industry, academia, and society. NTN Learning Group is a 501c3 spin-off of award-winning NTN, Inc. and leverages 10 years of dedication to the nanotechnology industry to achieve its new K-12 educational mission. Founded in 2004 as an industry association, NTN is acclaimed as a leading nonprofit organization that invests in the ecosystem comprised of industry, academia and K-12 education. Originally founded as NanoBioNexus, NTN dedicated its first five years to the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology. In 2009, the organization expanded to other sectors and continues to evolve to meet the needs of its constituencies. For more information, visit http://www.nanotecnexus.org/.

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