2023 BREW Kicks Off the New MRSEC

The 2023 Breakthrough Research and Education Workshop (BREW) was held on Friday, September 29. The full-day event was well attended by 47 faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff. The workshop served as a kickoff for the new Wisconsin MRSEC, which just began operating under a new grant from the NSF on September 1.

The goal of the BREW was to welcome people into the Center and familiarize them with all the expectations of and opportunities for MRSEC members.  Following an overview by Center Director, Paul Voyles, members from each IRG gave an overview of the group’s goals followed by a tutorial of the foundational concepts each group will use in its work. Recordings of these tutorials may be found under the Products section of the website.

The afternoon was dedicated to including Center members in the educational and outreach efforts of the Center. Participants also explored ways to share MRSEC research with the public.

The workshop started with an overview of the Inclusive Education/Outreach Team’s (IEOT’s) plans and some effective outreach practices. Then, small groups worked together to brainstorm ideas for photos and videos of their research that could be used with virtual reality, or VR, goggles. Finally, the groups developed ideas for new hands-on activity ideas inspired by their MRSEC research.  Ideas generated during the workshop will be used by the IEOT to generate future outreach activities.

The annual BREWs are an opportunity for MRSEC members to share and discuss recent breakthroughs in their research and new ideas for future work. Participants then work to distill research breakthroughs into ideas for accessible and engaging educational resources.