About the Program

Teachers will be engaged in hands-on authentic research experiences revolving around the theme of “mitigating natural disasters” in the labs of NDSU Civil and Environmental Engineering Department to help address issues impacting the region and globally from natural disasters including extreme weather, flooding, extreme temperatures, landslides, earthquakes, drought, wildfires, and volcanic activities. These activities will allow them to bridge research experiences to improve content knowledge which will translate to improved secondary STEM education in their classrooms. Teachers will work with faculty and graduate students on these continuing projects during the six-week summer experience towards two outcomes: (1) gain proficiency in the technical content through their research and (2) develop a curricular module related to that research focus. An additional focus of this RET program is to foster mentorship between current teachers and pre-service teachers primarily interested in STEM education. The program will provide preservice teachers with a unique opportunity to create their own lessons based on research and teach the curriculum in the classrooms of the current STEM teachers. This will result in more hands- on classroom teaching experiences to better prepare pre-service teachers for their future careers.

The anticipated broader impacts of this RET program are to inspire young minds to continue to solve real-world problems related to natural disasters. As this program focuses on teachers that serve in underrepresented and under-served populations relative to the engineering discipline, the curricular modules will directly contribute to an increased exposure and interest to STEM opportunities that these students would otherwise not receive. Another impact of this program is to foster better relationships and networking between secondary educators, university faculty, and the civil engineering industry that will extend beyond the duration of the RET program. Ultimately, the program will improve curriculum and student preparedness for research and leadership within STEM disciplines.

The theme of the RET program is to “mitigate natural disasters.” Publications and presentations from the authentic summer research experiences will disseminate solutions to issues faced during natural disasters including rapid assessment of at-risk infrastructure, real-time analyses of efficient evacuation routes, better simulations and models for flood protection, and evaluate potential secondary threats to the infrastructure. The knowledge created from the research conducted as part of this program will help to rescue and save lives during and after a natural disaster, improve resource allocation, and create more resilient communities.

Contact Us

Beena Ajmera, Ph.D., P.E.
Email: bajmera@iastate.edu
​​​​​​​Phone: (515) 294-2417

Sarah Crary, Ph.D.
Email: sarah.crary@ndsu.edu
Phone: (701) 231-5498

The RET Site at NDSU is supported by the National Science Foundation (Award No. 1953102).

Top of page