The “NSF PREM for Device Innovation through Inclusive Research and Education” is a partnership between two undergraduate campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Humacao, and Cayey, and the University of Pennsylvania (PENN) Materials Research Science & Engineering Center. The UPR-PENN PREM will advance knowledge and diversity in materials science with a research and education program centered on: (1) Charge dynamics in transition metal and carbon-based materials and (2) Surface-functionalized nanomaterials for sensing applications.
The UPR-PENN partnership began in 1998 under the NSF CIRE program and has continued with PREM support since 2004. Research collaborations have integrated hundreds of Hispanic undergraduate and high school students who now have degrees in STEM. The students have been predominantly women, first generation in college, and from rural or low-income families. Thousands have taken part in outreach events for schools and communities. PREM has transformed the research and education culture at undergraduate institutions and serves as a model to diversify the materials science community.
The 2021-2027 PREM integrates new people, research topics, and activities that keep the program growing and strengthtening.
The 2021-2017 UPR-PENN PREM broadly impacts society by increasing the participation of minorities and women in materials research. The UPR-PENN PREM Pathway begins by exposing PreK-12 and undergraduate (UG) students to materials science and scientific research through a coordinated outreach effort that involves schools and communities, and via UG curricula enhancement. Talented students who become motivated by these activities join the program for summer or academic year research experiences with UPR and PENN faculty. They are carefully mentored and guided until graduation to continue graduate studies in materials-related disciplines.