Skip to main content


Building a Cohort Through Outreach


Our Nanotechnology Environmental Effects and Policy IGERT students have worked as a cohort to plan and execute outreach activities during the academic year. While graduate students at Carnegie Mellon are typically encouraged to engage in outreach as a part of their professional preparation, our IGERT has made it possible and advantageous for the trainees to take a more primary role to define what types of outreach they want to engage in as a cohort. It has also allowed for interdisciplinary interactions in these activities, fulfilling one of the primary goals of the IGERT program. Both affiliates and trainees from multiple departments within the School of Engineering (Material Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy) have been able to coordinate and work with each other to deliver programs in an accessible and fun manner, and in such a way that outreach programs are appealing to a broad spectrum of participants.

In addition to the outreach planning and execution, the annual IGERT poster and video competition encouraged our trainees to collaborate on a poster and video, which would likely not have happened without the influence of the IGERT. As such, two of our trainees, Amy Dale (Engineering and Public Policy) and John Stegemeier (Civil and Environmental Engineering) worked as a team to craft our poster and video submission in order to highlight the interdisciplinary nature of their work. The cross pollination between these two departments and their graduate students was a direct effect of the Nanotechnology Environmental Effects and Policy IGERT.

Address Goals

The IGERT trainees participated in outreach activities with the goal of growing their abilities to communicate with a broad spectrum of audiences in terms of discussing scientific research and activities. The outreach activities that the IGERT students were engaged in were primarily with K-12 audiences, with the goal being the spread of scientific literacy, enthusiasm and participation among both under-represented audiences, as well as, those who have already developed a keen interest in science and engineering.

The collaboration between graduate students in different departments, with very different points of view concerning the development of nanotechnology strikes to the core of our IGERT project and indeed to the core of the main goals of all IGERT programs. The interdisciplinary team of Amy Dale and John Stegemeier were able to work together to craft our poster and video submission for the annual IGERT poster and video competition. Amy and John found some synergy between their research projects and so were able to create their submission with an eye to how their individual research contributes to a more holistic view of the topic. We believe this type of learning will enhance their development as first rate researchers, policy makers and educators.