CSATS 2020 Summer Research Experiences for STEM Teachers Program is a seven-week summer research program for middle and high school teachers. For Summer 2020, all RET programs will be held online. Teachers selected for the program will participate in ongoing research projects with researchers and work with CSATS faculty to develop a classroom research project based on their research experience.
All RET programs for the Summer of 2020 are being held online:
The application requires general contact information, direct supervisor information, 3 professional references, 3 essay questions, a support letter from your immediate supervisor, and a sample lesson plan.
Everything you need to know about eligibility can be found on the RET website.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RET program will be offered only. Currently, the only research experience offered online is the architectural engineering research experience for summer 2020. This FAQ will be updated if other RET placements are offered virtually.
No, you do not need to have research experience. But if you do, please be sure to tell us in your application.
The RET application is an online form. You can access the application when it becomes available during the academic year.
Applications will be reviewed on May 4, 2020. Please contact Matt Johnson, Assistant Professor Science Education, firstname.lastname@example.org if you require submission beyond that date, but are interested in the program.
Yes, you can save the application and return to it later to submit, but we suggest that you prepare your answers in a separate document and copy them into the webpage.
We are sorry to hear that you are having a problem with the application and are happy to help you. If you have a general question or issue, please contact Amber Cesare, STEM Education Outreach Specialist, email@example.com.
You will receive an automatically generated email when you submit your application. Note: All automatically generated email messages about your RET application will be sent to you but if you aren’t getting these messages, check your spam or junk folders.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RET program will be held virtually for the Summer of 2020. There will be no in-person research experiences.This limited our placements to research that could be transitioned to a virtual format. Placements that require in-person meetings were moved to the Summer of 2021.
CSATS faculty will review your application.
You should be notified of decisions by the second week in May. You will be notified by e-mail of your acceptance or regrets for the program.
Of course, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements listed on our website.
The RET program is being held virtually for the Summer of 2020. That means all of the work done in the program this summer will be online. The mentor scientists and engineers are from different locations: PSU Harrisburg, PSU Hershey, and PSU University Park. No in-person meetings will take place.
As an RET, you will spend 7 weeks engaged in an authentic research experience with a scientist or engineer based on your placement. During 6 of the 7weeks, you will spend 4 days of the week working a full-time workday in your laboratory placement and 1 day a week will be spent with CSATS faculty to receive professional development (PD). PD days are on Friday and typically last about 6 hours each. During week 7 of the program, you will not be required to officially report to your laboratory placement (unless you have tasks to wrap up). This time is intended for RETs to work on their technical posters and/or classroom research projects to present at the RET Symposium Luncheon that will take place on Friday, July 31 in University Park, PA. For more specific information such as work hours, see “Questions about RET Logistics” below.
As an RET teacher, you will gain a better understanding of the nature of research and the current practices of scientists and engineers, which inform current science education best practices. CSATS faculty will then help you translate your technical research experience into a classroom application for your students. For your work in the summer, you will receive a stipend of $5000. An additional $1500 stipend is available if you implement your classroom research project during the academic year and complete an impact report to share your results. See the section “I’ve read that RETS will develop a classroom research project” below. In addition to teacher stipends, there is up to $1000 available for materials and resources necessary to implement your classroom research project.
As part of the professional development sessions, you will learn how to translate your research experience into a classroom application that fits within your existing curriculum. At the conclusion of the summer, you will create a classroom reach project using content and/or practices you learned from your research experience. CSATS provides a template for this process. You will present your project to CSATS faculty and other CSATS RET fellows to receive feedback. During the following academic year, you will then pilot your research project unit in your classrooms and collect data to inform the outcome of predetermined project goals. CSATS faculty will remain as an available resource during the implementation process throughout the academic year. At the conclusion of implementing your classroom research project and data collection, you will complete an impact report to share the results of your project.
The seven-week program runs from June 15 – July 31, 2020 (Monday – Friday). The program is run completely online. No in-person meetings will take place.
RET participants are paid a $5,000 stipend for their full participation in the seven-week program. The stipend is paid by check in two installments of $2500. You will receive the first installment mid-way through the summer and the second installment upon completion and acceptance of your classroom research project.
Yes - you will have the opportunity to receive up to 3 graduate credits through Penn State. If interested, please reach out to Matt Johnson, Professor of Science Education, firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also provide 36 hours of Act 48 credits.
The RET program is a full-time, Monday-Friday commitment for the 7-weeks. Please take this into consideration when planning to work or take classes outside of the RET program.
Each lab has its own culture and rhythm. You and your lab mentor will work out a specific schedule for you, which will include time spent working on your research project, attending lab meetings, etc. Generally you will start around 8 or 9 AM and finish at 4 or 5 PM. You will also receive time for lunch.
It is up to you to arrange your own transportation to and from your laboratory placement.
The RET Symposium Luncheon is a time for RET teachers to share the research that they have conducted during the summer with others over lunch. You will present your technical poster at the Penn State University Park campus during the Summer of 2021.
Please contact Matt Johnson, Assistant Professor of Science Education, email@example.com.
This program is funded by a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Teachers Site grant and engages 10 secondary teachers in a 7-week research experience with a faculty member in architectural engineering. These researchers consider both the human experience in buildings as well as building system efficiency. Teachers will conduct in research about buildings and will consider their school facilities as “Living Laboratories” when conducting research on architectural engineering with their students. Science topics including indoor air quality, lighting effectiveness, thermal comfort, and energy efficiency. Teachers will use their research experience to co-design a unit of study intended to enhance his/her current curriculum.
Penn State Cancer Institute seeks to discover, develop and disseminate scientific knowledge from basic, clinical and population-based investigations. The Institute's mission is to enhance compassionate cancer care, cancer education, and innovative collaborative research, thereby decreasing the impact of cancer in central Pennsylvania and beyond. As part of this mission, the PSCI plays a vital role in training and educating the next generation of cancer research investigators, and in preparing trainees for sustaining careers in cancer research.
Through this RET-PSCI partnership, secondary school STEM teachers will have the opportunity to perform real-world research with a PSCI investigator. PSCI researchers are organized into three programs that encompass a broad range of topics and disciplines. Click here to explore PSCI Research Programs. Through CSATS, teachers will be matched with a PSCI faculty mentor, located at either Penn State's Hershey or University Park campus, according to the applicant's background experience and areas of interest.
This program is funded by Boeing Corporation and engages a secondary STEM teacher in a 6-week research experience with Dr. Shaun Mahony, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University. His lab seeks to understand the ways that mammalian cells regulate gene activity by analyzing where transcription factors bind to DNA, and what they do after they bind. The teacher selected for this program will study how gene regulation of transcription factors varies in recently diverged bats from the family Phyllostomidae who have evolved varied dietary specializations (i.e. they eat insects, blood, nectar, etc). The project will use computational biology to investigate whether regulatory elements have moved around the genome to help the bat species adapt liver metabolism to new diets while the overall liver function remains conserved. The primary goal of this Research Experience for Teachers program is to use this research to co-design a unit of study to enhance his/her current curriculum.
4. Upon submission of your application, you will receive a confirmation email that the documents are submitted to the CSATS RET Committee and you will be contacted if selected to interview after the application window is closed. Thank you and we look forward to learning more about you!