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Math/Science Teachers Learn Hazard Mitigation Techniques at UT Arlington Summer Program

April 9, 2008

An interdisciplinary summer program offered by academic units of The University of Texas at Arlington will provide area high school teachers tools to develop course materials on issues ranging from natural disasters to information security. The program is designed to advance their knowledge within and across the fields of civil engineering, computer science/computer engineering and industrial engineering.

This Research Experience for Teachers in Engineering (RET) program is being funded by a three-year, $512,000 National Science Foundation grant. The program will provide stipends and other support for 12 high school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers in 2008 and 2009, and 10 additional high school STEM teachers in 2009 and 2010, to engage in research with the project’s faculty investigators and graduate students.

The RET project has several goals: (1) increase opportunities for engineering faculty and high school teachers to collaborate in engineering research and pre-college education, (2) provide teachers with an extensive summer research experience, (3) provide teachers with the opportunity and resources to develop new curriculum modules consistent with school district, state and federal standards for classroom implementation, and (4) enhance STEM learning experiences for high school students, thereby motivating them to seek careers in engineering.

Teachers will be trained regarding the application of mathematic and scientific principles to solve problems related to hazard mitigation such as emergency evacuations, dispersion of airborne toxics, enhanced hacker detection, flood control and wind and seismic effect on structures. As a result, teachers will have the opportunity to relate “real world” issues to their students from an engineering and research perspective.

Each summer research session will last for six weeks beginning June 16, with follow-up evaluations at the participating schools. Six local school districts have committed to the project: Arlington, Duncanville, Everman, Grand Prairie, Irving and Mansfield.

The project is being directed by Dr. Nur Yazdani, chair of the Civil Engineering Department. Other faculty participating in this multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort include Drs. Yvette Weatherton, Anand Puppala, John McEnery and Melanie Sattler from Civil Engineering; Drs. Matt Wright and Carter Tiernan from Computer Science and Engineering; Dr. Bonnie Boardman from Industrial Engineering; and Drs. Stephanie Daza and Thomas Graca from the College of Education.