RET Teachers (2012)

Sombath Bounket – South Division High School (MPS)

School Subjects:

Math and Digital Electronics (Project Lead The Way)

Interests:

I have always had an interest in math and some science. I always wanted to know what kind of math is used in science, such as wind turbine, solar panels, and high electric power plant.

Project:

I am reading about lotus effect.  Lotus effect involves two important properties that are typical for many water-repellent plants leaves: the superhydrophobicity and self-cleaning.  A surface with the water contact angle greater than 1500 and with low contact angle hysteresis is called superhydrophobic. That is the larger contact angle and low contact angle hysteresis result in a low value of a sliding angle: a water drop rolls along such a surface even when the surface is tilted for a small angle.

I am also doing a lab experiment to find out if ceramic tile, cement block, and aluminum have superhydrophobic properties.  By doing so, I am used a famous Wenzel, Cassie-Baxter, and Young’s equation (model) with a Goniometer-machine to help determine the water contact angle.

I am also helping my lab assistant (Vahid Hejazi) using a Profilometer-machine to measure an adhesion force between ice and ceramic tile surface.

Tao ZhengMilwaukee School of Languages

School Subjects: 

I am a high school chemistry and math teacher in Milwaukee School of Languages.

Interests:

I am interested in clean and renewable energy resource and environment protection.

Project:

My current project in UWM is photocatalytic reduction of CO2.   In this project, we hope that we can convert the waste, useless, and greenhouse gas CO2 to some of our new energy resource, CO or CH4, and at the same time, reduce the amount of greenhouse gas (CO2) to protect our environment. During this summer, under the supervision of Prof. Li and Postdoc Lianjun Liu, I made a series of the sample of the catalyst, and we detected that one sample has the photoactivity to reduce CO2 to CO by using  Gas Chromatography (GC).  We characterized this sample by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), so we can “see” that this sample looks like a flower with about 200nm diameter and about 10 nm height, which is very beautiful. Now, we are testing the activities of the other catalysts I made, and we hope we can get some more good results.

From this project, I learned how to make some nanomaterial, how to use GC to test its photoactivity, and how to get the information from SEM.  All of these are new and interesting to me; I really enjoyed my project this summer.

Emily Harrington – Saint Joan Antida HS

School Subjects: 

I currently teach Biology, Environmental Science, and Physics.  I have worked as a science teacher at SJAHS for three years.

Interests:

I was excited to participate in the Summer Research Experience for Teachers at UWM to gain some insights into making science and math more relevant for my students. I am a firm believer in learning by doing, and I know this program will give me exciting ideas for the classroom. As an Environmental Science major, I am most passionate about my students building a functioning aquaponics garden in the classroom next year. I am eager to teach students about humans’ often volatile relationship with the environment. I aim for students to understand their own impacts on earth and steps they can take towards minimizing their own ecological footprint. My hope is that students will feel a greater sense of responsibility as we study human impacts on earth while also learning to build and manage an aquaponics garden throughout the school year.

Project:

This summer, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects with various mechanical engineers at UWM. During the first two weeks of the the RET program, I was able to work with a visiting professor and learn about his work on wastewater management. His research involves the aeration process of wastewater, which is used to decrease the amount of organic matter in wastewater. His primary goal is to manipulate the surface area of the oxygen bubbles in effort to make the process more efficient and less costly. I was able to help with this project by doing research on various aeration processes in addition to building a functioning pump to aerate water cheaply and efficiently. We were also able to tour a wastewater treatment plant in Milwaukee to learn about the treatment process first hand. It has been interesting to learn about engineering, designing projects, finding solutions to everyday problems, and researching. I am excited to integrate my work this summer into my classroom.

John Rentmeester – Saint Joan Antida HS

School Subjects: 

I am a math and PLTW  teacher at Saint Joan Antida in downtown Milwaukee.

Interests:

Although my background is in math, I thoroughly enjoy teaching principles of engineering.  It allows students to take a hands on approach with students and give a very well rounded introduction into the engineering world.  Through the RET program I have been able to work alongside professors and doctoral students at UW-Milwaukee to get a closer look at what  research is being done, which will allow me to better equip my students for a future in engineering.

Project:

In our Fluid mechanic lab we took a closer look at the treatment of wastewater, mainly at the aeration process.  Currently it is common practice to aerate wastewater before dumping it into a water source by pumping air into it until it reaches a certain oxygen level.  In our research we were trying to find a more efficient way to do this, and in the lab we flipped the process.  Instead of pumping air into the water, we pump the water into a cyclone of air causing it to aerate much quicker.  The lab is in the infant stages of this research, so during our time the first step of the process was to design the inlet valve, where both the water and air are mixed and pumped into the cyclone.  We came up with a design that closely resembles a Venturi pump, which works very well at getting large amounts of water and air mixed in a short period of time.  Through the RET program I have a more thorough understanding of the research process.  The RET is a unique opportunity to get out of a classroom and see how concepts that I teach are being used in a laboratory, which will allow me to better prepare my students for a future in engineering.

Mark Jeter Vincent High School

School Subjects: 

Interests:

Project:

Meghan Froh-SebranekAudubon High School

School Subjects:

Interests:

Project: 

Richard JohnsonRiverside University High School

School Subjects: 

Chemistry and AP Environmental Science

Interests:

Renewable Energies including solar panels and solar cells, also hydroponics-working system in school greenhouse

Project:

Working on dye sensitized solar cells.  The dye solar cell converts light energy to electricity on a molecular level similar to photosynthesis.  We are working with Titanium dioxide an important semi conducting material. This work is done at the nanostructure level.  By manipulating the architecture of the titanium dioxide materials you can improve the efficiency of the cell.  I have been involved in preparing the aluminum oxide templates for deposition and assisting in preparation of the dye-sensitized solar cells.

 

Chris LevasRiverside University High School

School Subjects: 
Bilingual Biology and Principles of Engineering.

Interests:
I earned my B.S. degree in Biology and have a strong interest in the environment. I have spearheaded “Project Lead the Way” at my high school, RUHS. Further, I take pride in being the first teacher in the school to successfully teach the program in both English and Spanish acquiring two certifications for RUHS by MSOE.

Project: 
I currently work with Dr. Zhen He and Kyle Jacobson on Microbial Fuel Cells.  For the summer program, I am creating fuel cell models in Autodesk Inventor and have constructed two prototype models out of plastic. I am also currently working on creating lesson plans that will teach the students how this technology works and how this technology will impact the world.