Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials

This project is a partnership of the universities of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW) to create richer educational and research opportunities for Hispanic students in Materials Science and Engineering and, thereby, increase their representation in the Materials community.

The PREM brings together 26 researchers in the areas of soft materials, catalysis and adsorption, crystallization and pharmaceuticals. The group’s approaches are divided into three interdisciplinary research teams that address fundamental problems in these materials, plus a group focused on education.

This is a University of Puerto Rico Project, Award #1827894

The Wisconsin MRSEC and the UPRM have a history of sustained interaction that has positively impacted the participation of Hispanic people in Materials Science and Engineering at all levels of the pipeline, from K-12 through faculty. The partnership is grounded in research collaborations between faculty members at both universities and includes several UPRM faculty members who have received PhDs in engineering at UW–Madison (Yomaira Pagan Torres, Patricia Ortiz Bermudez, Nelson Cardona Martinez, Maribella Domenech, and others).

The cross-cultural Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program gives teachers from Wisconsin and Puerto Rico the opportunity to work in a research laboratory under the mentorship of a Wisconsin MRSEC or UPRM faculty member and a graduate student or postdoctoral associate. The RET participants and their mentors co-develop a classroom curriculum module that the teacher implements and evaluates in their own classroom. The summer program ends with a capstone week program where the teachers meet face-to-face at one of the two sites to share their research experiences and present their modules to each other.

Both the Wisconsin MRSEC and UPRM host undergraduates through their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. The UPRM program began in 2014 and uses many of the best practices developed in the Wisconsin MRSEC REU program.

Wisconsin – Puerto Rico Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials Website