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Posted: January 26, 2009
Novel university program tackles U.S. need for two million nanotechnology workers
(Nanowerk News) According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), more than two million industry nano-tech savvy workers will be needed in the U.S. by the year 2014. But, students aren't prepared for these careers, and a skilled workforce shortage has left research universities and companies challenged to secure the talent needed to meet this demand. NanoTecNexus (NTN), a leading nanotech education organization dedicated to collaboration and knowledge exchange, is launching the first program of-its-kind this February -- unveiling a new NTN Chapter University program to tackle this problem head on. Also launching this spring is a kid's K-12 community outreach series to help grow the next generation of nano-scientists.
The first university chapter kicks off at the UC San Diego (USCD)'s NanoEngineering department, arming students with the leadership skills, industry readiness, and career path knowledge needed for these careers. The program will include leadership skills training and career development as well as an opportunity to integrate with industry through special projects and activities.
Kenneth Vecchio, Ph.D., Chair of UCSD's NanoEngineering Department, said, "We are pleased to support a well conceived chapter program encompassing best practices and models from the NSF-funded Engineering Resource Center, other leading national organizations and student input. NanoTecNexus is an important liaison to build linkages between students, industry and the community."
NanoTecNexus' director of academic affairs and co-founder of the UCSD entrepreneurial challenge, Nicole Justis Truitt, added, "As student enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and nanotechnology surges, NanoTecNexus is uniquely positioned to make a real impact on the next generation of nanotechnologists."
The kid's community outreach series is also a bridge to meeting the needs of nanotechnology. This program emphasizes the importance of science, engineering, math and physics, and how they converge to create novel nanotechnologies. NTN Founder and CEO, Adriana Vela, commented, "We blend philanthropic activities with an industry purpose to further address the educational issues of today and tomorrow."
As part of the outreach program, NTN is also contributing to the San Diego Science Festival being held this March with more than 500 different events and 250 collaborations. NTN featured programs for youth and general public include 'Nanopalooza', a NanoArt exhibit and a 'Nanotech Mashup' event to be hosted in partnership with UCSD's NanoTumor Center. These unique events will offer hands on experiments and games and an opportunity to meet nanoscientists and learn how they will use nanomaterials to fight disease, address energy problems and build better products for society.
Additional highlights of these new programs will be shared at the Jan. 29, NanoTecNexus event, "Next Generation Power via Man-Made Nanomotors and Nano-enabled Alternative Energy Technologies", with world renowned nanotech expert and chemist, Joseph Wang, Ph.D., professor at University of California San Diego's NanoEngineering Department. Dr. Wang was ranked as the world's most cited scientist in engineering for a decade (1991-2001) by the Institute of Scientific Information. Joining Dr. Wang is UCSD's NanoEngineering Department Chair, Kenneth Vecchio, Ph.D. to present an overview of cutting-edge nanotechnology capabilities and research. For more event information go to: www.nanotecnexus.org.
Vela actively supports charitable organizations in their educational efforts by serving as a keynote speaker, interviewee, program reviewer, and by sharing knowledge. She was recently honored by MANA San Diego, a National Latina Organization, for her contributions. Vela also participates as a founding board of trustee for the Nanotech Research Foundation, focusing on accelerating nanotechnology education, awareness, and research funding.
NanoTecNexus (NTN), formerly known as NanoBioNexus, is a leading non-profit organization headquartered in San Diego with offices in Tucson, AZ, San Jose, Calif., and Vancouver, Wash. NTN is dedicated to catalyzing collaboration and knowledge exchange in the nanotech field by connecting people, technology, industry and investment. NanoTecNexus enables constituents worldwide to keep up-to-date on the developments of cutting-edge nanotechnologies. Nanotechnology involves manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular scale smaller than 100 nanometers and taking advantage of properties that are present at that scale. Nanotechnology is used in thousands of applications in medicine, technology and energy. On the Net: www.nanotecnexus.org.