Building and Evaluating Education and Outreach Programs for an NSF Engineering Research Center, the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG)
A new Engineering Research Center in the US was recently funded by the National Science Foundation, the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG); this center exemplifies the beginning of the new field of biogeotechnics. Arizona State University is the lead along with Georgia University of Technology, New Mexico State and the University of California-Davis. Our IDEA team, for Innovation, Diversity and Education Activities, is working across these four universities, to develop education and outreach programs for participants from Kindergarten to 12th grade students and teachers; university undergraduate and graduate students; postdoctoral researchers; faculty and working engineers. The goal of the education programs is to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning, by exciting students in this new field of biogeotechnics, and transferring knowledge developed by the center to participants at all these levels. The center of our programs is the fact that nature inspires this innovative research, and this is the hook to interest students and to help them learn.