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Vision & Objectives


The challenges to the national competitiveness and sustained STEM global leadership can be better met through the full utilization of all of the nation’s talent and resources [1-3]. The Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) reported that “bolder steps and bigger investments are needed to improve the state of diversity and inclusion in science and engineering” [4-8]. Our vision in this proposal is to realize an environment in which every URM student who is interested in science and engineering should be able to pursue a STEM career without barriers. Our mission is to enable students to contribute their full talent to scientific, engineering, and technological or related fields.  Our priorities include educating URM students to be leaders and innovators and to serve as role models in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields, including nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology involves research and technological development at a nanometer scale. It embraces a great deal of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, and engineering [9-17]. Its broad applications highlight the impact of these basic sciences and engineering in the betterment of our quality of life. Nanotechnology education is an effective pathway to prepare underrepresented minority (URM) students for modern challenges in research and development, and to meet the demands of high-tech industries [18-24]. This proposal outlines a plan to build a center and information hub to implement and disseminate products and services in support of a highly trained workforce. The South-eastern Coalition for Engagement and Exchange in Nanotechnology Education (a.k.a., The SCENE), will serve as a regional platform and network for broadening participation and career development of URM students in STEM fields, particularly focused on nanotechnology.


The SCENE-LSRCE will be an effective network to implement and disseminate education and training products and services for diverse student populations in STEM disciplines.  The initial coalition members are: two four-year institutions, Norfolk State University (NSU) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU); one community college, Tidewater Community College (TCC); and three Hampton Roads area research institutes, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), Jefferson National Research Laboratory and Applied Research Center (JLab-ARC), and NASA Langley Research Center (NASA-LaRC). Expanded discussions summarizing the roles for each network partner are discussed below. 

Products and services at The SCENE support the goal of increasing participation and contributions of URM populations in nanoscience and engineering. Specific outcomes to be enhanced by the programs and activities at The SCENE will include:

  • Growth of an URM nanotechnology community and network;
  • Students engaged in advanced research experiences in university, governmental, and industrial laboratories;
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFPs) applications from students affiliated with  SCENE network partners;
  • Strengthened student pathways between NSU and two-year institutions within the SCENE network;
  • Professional presentations and peer-reviewed publications by students mentored and supported by The SCENE.