Magazine article Techniques

Dakota County Technology College

Magazine article Techniques

Dakota County Technology College

Article excerpt

THE NANOSCIENCE TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM at Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) in Rosemount, Minnesota, is designed to prepare students for employment in nanobiotech, nanomaterials and nanoelectonics. The program, which was the first of its kind at a two-year institution when it began in June 2004, is offered through a partnership with the University of Minnesota--Minneapolis, with students taking their first three semesters at DCTC and the final at semester at the university in its Nanofabrication Center, Materials Characterization Lab and Nanoparticles/Biotechnology Labs.

Instructor Deb Newberry says the DCTC nanotechnology program is unique because it is multidisciplinary. "A lot of the nanoscience programs are predominantly focused c the electronics," she explains. "but we have the biotech aspect as well as the electronics and materials.

The curriculum is also multidisciplinary and incorporates physics, chemistry and biology. That makes it challenging to teach and challenging for the students to understand. Newberry compares it to building a pyramid, so it takes a while to lay the foundation, But she says, "When they start to see how all those bricks fit together and then they suddenly say, 'Oh, now I get it!' it's so cool.

When she talks to high school students about nanoscience technology, Newberry explains that, while the multidisciplinary aspect makes it challenging it also creates opportunities. "They don't have to be math or science geniuses. she says, "since they can pull in different pieces from the various disciplines and almost create a dream career."

In the first semester, students are introduced to nanoscale interactions, forces, tools of nanotechnology and biological systems. The second semester focuses on nanoscale chemistry and physics effects and includes computer simulation of nanoscale systems. The third semester builds upon the previous courses and adds manufacturing quality assurance.

The nanoscience technology associate degree program at DCTC includes courses on nanoscience fundamentals, computer simulation, nanoelectronics, nanobiotechnology/ agriculture and nanomaterials. Also included are career planning, industry tours, and industry internships and observation. …

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