RET Site in Manufacturing Simulation and Automation

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project is a renewal of Penn State Behrend's RET site in Manufacturing Simulation and Automation. The site provides research training and curriculum development experiences to high school and community college instructors from the Erie region (covering counties in PA, OH, and NY). The goals of the program are: 1) to maintain a STEM-based collaboration platform at Behrend by engaging high school teachers and community college instructors in state-of-the-art manufacturing research, 2) to facilitate the development and dissemination of curricular modules and classroom activities that connect STEM classes with manufacturing regionally and nationally, 3) to explore a sustainable educational model that connects high schools, community colleges, university, and industry to instill future generations with greater awareness and interest in manufacturing, and 4) to help fill the skills gap in manufacturing and prepare students for manufacturing careers. Each summer, participants are immersed in interdisciplinary research projects and training sessions, industry tours, and curriculum design workshops. During the academic year, the RET team continues to engage with participants through classroom visits, engineering conferences, lab tours for their students, and other follow-up activities to ensure the sustainability of program outcomes.

The RET site will recruit 12 high school teachers and community college faculty each year, a total of 36 participants in three years. The program will improve instructors' research and professional skills and help them translate cutting-edge manufacturing research to their classrooms by creating and delivering engaging classes. Knowledge will be conveyed to students through hands-on activities, manufacturing simulations, and other interactive experiments. This, in turn, will influence the students to consider advanced studies and careers in manufacturing. The developed materials and activities will be evaluated and revised every year based on pre/post survey results and feedback from the curriculum design expert, the external evaluator, and industry advisors. To reach out to a broader audience, the site experiences will be shared for public access via online educational platforms and nationwide RET symposiums.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date11/1/213/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $596,868.00


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