While our research mission is to understand the impacts of human alterations to the environment and to improve the stewardship of our natural resources, we also strive to educate the public and engage future environmental engineers and scientists. The Hsu-Kim lab group regularly volunteers in public and K-12 science outreach programs. These programs include FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering, and Science) and activities through CEINT (Center for Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology).
Our recent science education demonstrations have included activities to simulate water filtration and wastewater treatment processes at FEMMES capstone workshops for grade school girls.
We also designed an activity for NanoDays at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. This activity, called NanoToss, highlighted the importance of surface coatings for controlling the stickiness of nanoparticles. Nanomaterials inherently have sticky surfaces that allow them them to deposit onto soil and sediments if released to the environment. Nanomaterials with synthetic coatings can be less sticky and can travel larger distances in streams and rivers. Particle "stickiness" and surface coatings are critical for determining the potential hazards of nanomaterials to humans and aquatic ecosytems and are the major focus for the scientists of CEINT.