The RTNN congratulates Associate Director Maude Cuchiara for earning one of NC State’s Outstanding Extension and Engagement Awards. The award recognizes Maude’s extensive contributions to RTNN’s outreach mission over the past five years. During this time, she worked with RTNN colleagues to develop RTNN’s Coursera course, start the RTNN Student Ambassadors program, pilot outreach to libraries and museums in rural North Carolina, launch Take-out Science during the COVID-19 pandemic, and secure RET and REU site awards. Through these efforts, the RTNN has made a substantial impact on thousands of program participants around the world.
Ekaterina Bogomoletc was recently honored with two awards for her work in communicating science. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at NC State and, under the direction of RTNN co-PI Prof. David Berube, conducts research in the Social and Ethical Implications of Nanotechnology for the RTNN.
Ekaterina won the University of Miami School of Communication Top Student Paper Award at the 2021 International Public Relations Research Conference. Ekaterina’s winning project explored publics’ reactions to brands’ COVID-19 responses. More specifically, Ekaterina examined how YouTube users perceived attempts of several global brands to normalize the new, post-COVID, reality:
“The study demonstrated that when it comes to brands’ COVID-19 responses, publics seemed to be concerned with the political side of the brands’ communication. For companies, this might mean that publics are open to negotiating brands’ place in the new, post-COVID19, reality without viewing their actions as opportunistic. At the same time, the campaigns were accused of promoting a certain political agenda, i.e., they were perceived as brand activism. The perception of organizations’ COVID-19 communication as brand activism brings extra expectations in terms of authenticity of companies’ efforts.”
Ekaterina was also awarded a seed grant from the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations at San Diego State University. The grant is awarded to PhD candidates and pre-tenured faculty for research projects in the area of public relations.
Ekaterina won the award in collaboration with Dr. Nicole Lee, an assistant professor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. They proposed a project that will examine possible factors behind publics’ trust towards scientific information as well as factors affecting publics’ willingness to share scientific information online. More specifically, they will test whether various communication strategies affect publics’ perception of take-at-home COVID-19 tests.
Thank you to everyone who voted for the RTNN images in the NNCI-wide image competition. Our hearty congratulations to Kun Luan for his winning image Elegant Mosquito Fascicle that reveals the micro-anatomy of a mosquito stylet. The image shows how the mosquito can bite through human skin by using its proboscis. Kun will receive $1,000 in travel support from the NNCI. Check out the other winners and honorable mentions here.
Our congratulations go out to Carrie Donley, Justin Gladman, and Nicole Hedges for winning national awards from the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) in all award categories: User Support (Donley), Technical Staff (Gladman), and Education and Outreach (Hedges).
Carrie, currently a spectroscopist in the Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL), has made extraordinary contributions to the NNCI, RTNN, and CHANL over the past several years. As the former director of CHANL, Carrie spearheaded its interactions with the NNCI and RTNN. Her efforts included the coordination of a workshop for community college teachers, establishment of remote SEM sessions for rural North Carolina schools, and development of course material and video recordings for a Coursera online course “Nanotechnology: A Maker’s Course”. Within CHANL, Carrie is responsible for instruments including XPS, XRD, FTIR, microspectrophotometry, AFM-IR, and ESEM. Since 2013, she has trained more than 550 users on these tools. Moreover, in the last year alone, she has provided trainings and technical guidance for 61 research groups and 112 users. Carrie’s user interactions extend beyond the lab to detailed interpretation and analysis of data, resulting in her inclusion as a co-author on nine peer-reviewed journal articles with CHANL users over the past five years.
Justin is a Research and Development Engineer at Duke University’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility. In this position, he created a dynamic MicroCT imaging and analysis infrastructure that serves a broad spectrum of users from traditional shared facility disciplines like microelectronics to non-traditional disciplines such as evolutionary anthropology and human anatomy. For example, he developed MicroCT techniques to help a research group study tiny vasculatures in the head to get a better understanding of concussion effects. He has developed and continued to support a national and international user base. Nationally, our MicroCT users come from all across the country, including Arizona, Iowa, New York and Louisiana in addition to various regions within North Carolina and Virginia. Internationally, Justin has collaborated with researchers from Germany, France, and Canada for MicroCT imaging and analysis. Last year the MicroCT had 80 different users and averaged greater than 40 hours per week of usage for the entire year. Justin has created clear and useful operating procedures, and offers excellent training and support for the operation of the MicroCT and the visualization and analysis of the resulting images.
As the Business and Education manager of the NC State University Nanofabrication Facility (NNF), Nicole has been instrumental in developing educational content that aligns with the goals of the RTNN and NNCI. These efforts include the RTNN’s annual Nanotechnology Workshop for Community College Educators, a series of industry-focused short courses on wide bandgap power devices, an NNF/Durham Technical Community College short course focused on workforce training for Cree technicians, and NNF photolithography and atomic layer deposition short courses. The NNF and RTNN are heavily dependent on Nicole for the successful planning and execution of these short courses, as she provides significant expertise in logistical strategy and technical content. Furthermore, Nicole has done a fantastic job coordinating lab work for the NC State undergraduate and graduate courses that take place within NNF: Integrated Circuit Technology and Fabrication (ECE 442/538) and Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Device Fabrication and Technology (ECE 792-047). Nicole once again provides logistical and technical input to ensure that these classes run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively.
Keep up the good work!
A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2020 Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. Thanks to all who voted for these amazing images in the NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom. Congratulations to Kun Luan for winning the national competition!
Erin Meyer, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
The coccolithophore (single-celled algae) S. apsteinii grown in seawater with elevated concentrations of Sr. The elevated Sr disrupted the calcification of their calcite structures (coccoliths), resulting in a malformed morphology.
Most Unique Capability
Elegant Mosquito Fascicle
Kun Luan, NC State University
Elegant Mosquito Fascicle reveals the micro-anatomy of mosquito stylet. It can explain how the mosquito bites through human skin by using proboscis. The information conveyed from the image were used to engineer non-insecticide barriers, which can mechanically prevent the mosquito bite.
Nanoscale Star Wars
Phil Barletta, NC State University
This image shows a Au nanoparticle on a SiC sample surface. It has a striking resemblance to the Death Star! The NNF staff, along with a colleague in CBE, took some liberties in Photoshop to add the appropriate details to the image. This sample was fabricated and imaged at NNF.