IEEE Nanotechnology Council student chapter uses innovation grant to promote STEM

The Louisiana Tech University student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nanotechnology Council (IEEE NTC) earned an innovation grant that provided the opportunity to offer outstanding student engagement and community outreach throughout the 2021-22 academic year.

The organization coordinated industry talks, research seminars, student research experience talks, study sessions, and socials, and participated in College-wide outreach.

The talks, which were open to all Louisiana Tech students, faculty, and staff, featured speakers at different points in their careers. Internationally recognized distinguished speakers, semiconductor industry professionals, biological and biomedical engineering researchers, and students who completed research experiences for undergraduates shared their nanotechnology experiences with attendees.

The organization has encouraged student engagement through activities like a “Meet and Greet” event where first-year students could meet and socialize with other Nanosystems Engineering students.  The IEEE NTC also participated in organization browses around Tech’s campus, GumboFest, Tech or Treat, and the Big Event. The Council showed high school students how to make nano ice cream during the 2022 Engineering and Science Day at Louisiana Tech in its latest community outreach success.

The organization also hosts quarterly movie study nights during which students watch movies that showcase nanotechnology, like Ant Man, Ant Man 2, and Honey I Shrunk the Kids, to destress while studying for finals.

Council President and Nanosystems Engineering junior Gabriel Peterman says that since nanotechnology is interdisciplinary, students from majors throughout Louisiana Tech, especially those in the Colleges of Engineering and Science and Applied and Natural Sciences, may find membership in the organization helpful in understanding facets of their own majors.

“The Nanotechnology Council opened my eyes to the applications of nanotechnology. As a freshman, I didn’t understand how broad the usage of nanotech is, and through the organization, I learned about nanotechnology and its extensive range of applications across many fields, including biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as applied engineering disciplines. Students who join will learn how small molecules work within the human body, electronics, and technology.”

“The IEEE is the world’s largest professional organization and is organized in regions and sections,” Dr. Sandra Zivanovic, program chair of Nanosystems Engineering, professor of Electrical Engineering and Nanosystems Engineering, and faculty advisor for the Louisiana Tech IEEE NTC, says. “Our IEEE NTC student chapter belongs to the IEEE Shreveport section of Region 5 (which is composed of mostly southern and central states in the US). Gabriel has been such an awesome IEEE NTC student chapter chair (president) this school year, working relentlessly to organize interesting and enriching activities and promote our IEEE NTC student chapter so that even the current IEEE NTC chair of all the chapters and regional interest groups, Prof. Lan Fu, recognized our chapter as a very active one nationwide and internationally.”

“Dr. Zivanovic has been extremely helpful in organizing the council events, helping us facilitate outreach, and making us aware of opportunities to share nanotechnology and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects with the public,” Peterman added.

Using the Innovation Grant, members of the Nanotechnology Council will take a field trip to Austin to tour nanotechnology companies this summer. The council plans to tour the Canon company and some businesses within the biomedical industry to see nanotechnology applications and see what industries are like for students who want to study atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale parts to create medical and electronic products.

The council organized a similar field trip to Richards, Texas, in 2019 to visit Intelligent Epitaxy Technology, Inc., Zyvex Labs, Photodigm, Southern Methodist University’s Electrical Engineering Department cleanroom and grating laboratory, and University of Texas – Dallas’s Department of Material Science and Engineering.

The organization, which elected new officers May 5, is working on plans to continue the established events and bring in more speakers and social events in the fall.

“Our plan for this upcoming year is to provide more nanotechnology-themed educational activities for the University and to spread better awareness of the ever-growing field of Nanotechnology,” incoming council president Timothy Searcy (nanosystems engineering student from Greenbrier, Tennessee) said.

Other newly elected council officers are Peterman, who will serve as vice president; Ethan Rachal (electrical engineering student from Alexandria), who will serve as secretary; Jonathan Tairov (nanosystems engineering student from Walker), who will serve as treasurer; Jacob Roberts (nanosystems engineering student from Farmerville), who will serve as social chair, and Brandon Hubbs (nanosystems engineering student from Baton Rouge), who will be the 2022-23 graduate advisor for the club.

The Nanotechnology Council is open to anyone from Louisiana Tech interested in advancing medicine, electronics, energy, and manufacturing using atomic and near atomic-scale materials. The organization currently includes biology majors and nanosystems engineering and chemical engineering majors.

Learn more about the Nanotechnology Council or the Nanosystems Engineering program at Louisiana Tech, or contact Gabriel Peterman to become a member of the Nanotechnology Council.