Source: NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV submitted to
PREPARING DIVERSE AND RURAL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS TO MEET THE CHALLENGES IN THE BIOENERGY AND BIOPRODUCTS INDUSTRY
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
EXTENDED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1012876
Grant No.
2017-67009-26771
Project No.
NCZ09484
Proposal No.
2016-08180
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
A6131
Project Start Date
Jun 15, 2017
Project End Date
Jun 14, 2022
Grant Year
2017
Project Director
Venditti, R.
Recipient Organization
NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV
(N/A)
RALEIGH,NC 27695
Performing Department
Forest Biomaterials
Non Technical Summary
The project Preparing Diverse and Rural Students and Teachers to Meet the Challenges in the Bioproducts and Bioenergy Industry will prepare a diverse group of college students and high school teachers with the knowledge and interdisciplinary tools necessary to advance the future of America's bioenergy, bioproducts, and the bioeconomy. The project taps into the talent pool of college undergraduates and high school teachers who will engage in newly developed online courses in bioproducts and bioenergy taught by eminent researchers at NC State University. These efforts will help to develop a regional sustainable bioproducts and biofuels industry that will create jobs, allow rural communities to thrive, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil (Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), 2007).The rationale underlying the project is the need to expose young people to the bioproducts and bioenergy and bioenergy industry. Showing them the opportunities and rewards that exist will motivate them to attain educational degrees and careers in the bioproducts and bioenergy industry. Rural students who are touched by this project are likely to enjoy jobs in a rural setting and be more inclined to commit long term to jobs expected in bioproducts and bioenergy industries in rural areas.North Carolina is in a tremendous agricultural and forest based biomass region, having the seventh highest degree of bioproducts industry concentration in 2013. Biobased product employment is expected to grow over the next five years to more than 5.3 million jobs nationwide. In the current competitive environment it is critically important to develop a workforce with transferable skills across the sector. Further, eastern North Carolina is a more rural region that is lagging in several socioeconomic indicators (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). The ability to leverage the human resources of the state with the needs of an emerging bioproducts and bioenergy industry make North Carolina uniquely positioned for this project.The long-term goal of this project is to develop the skills of diverse undergraduate college students and rural science high school teachers in order to advance the future of America's bioeconomy, using a critical test bed for rural, underrepresented students in North Carolina.This goal will be supported by 5 key objectives:1) Develop five online college courses critical for the bioproducts and bioenergy industries2) Create a certificate program including distance courses that will enable diverse undergraduate students to become career ready for the bioproducts and bioenergy industry3) Develop an internship and career opportunity network by initiating connections for undergraduate students to industry, government, and research organizations4) Create a certificate program that includes distance classes and hands-on workshops for rural science high school teachers to earn a certificate in bioproducts and bioenergy5) Promote the use of bioproducts and bioenergy lesson activities in science classes in order to promote bioproducts and bioenergy career awareness to rural, underrepresented high school studentsA partnership of colleges, public school systems, industry and agencies has been developed. In total, we expect approximately 6000 people impacted over four years. Program sustainability will stem from distance courses created (college and massive online open course format) as well as teachers that teach bioproducts and bioenergy concepts in their classes. Through outreach, biomass product stakeholders will be aware of this curriculum and its ability to provide employees for workforce needs. This program addresses the program area priority to assist rural communities to create prosperity so they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
5110699202075%
5112499202025%
Goals / Objectives
The long-term goal of this project is to develop the skills of diverse undergraduate college students and rural science high school teachers in order to advance the future of America's bioeconomy, using a critical test bed for rural, underrepresented students in North Carolina. This goal will be supported by 5 key objectives:1) To develop five online college courses critical for the bioproducts and bioenergy industries2) To create a certificate program including distance courses that will enable diverse undergraduate students to become career ready for the bioproducts and bioenergy industry3) To develop an internship and career opportunity network by initiating pathways for undergraduate students with the bioproducts and bioenergy training with industry, government, and research organizations4) To create a certificate program that includes distance classes and hands-on workshops for rural science high school teachers to earn a certificate in bioproducts and bioenergy5) To promote the use of bioproducts and bioenergy lesson activities in science classes in order to promote bioproducts and bioenergy career awareness to rural, underrepresented high school students
Project Methods
Efforts. We have reached out to Meredith, St. Augustine, and Wake Technical Community College and have secured a partnership with these institutions. We anticipate that these schools and also some students from NCSU will be appropriate, effective and convenient places from which to successfully recruit a diverse pool of college age students for the project. The college of education graduate student will coordinate these efforts with printed materials, electronic dissemination through internet channels, and face to face visits with teachers, counselors and advisors. The support of class tuition and the paid internship along with a positive description of potential jobs in the bioproducts and bioenergy arena are expected to yield a high quality, robust and complete group of participants. We have reached out to several high school districts in Eastern NC and have secured a partnership with these institutions (see letters of support). Through face to face conversations with administrators and teachers as well as other marketing avenues, we expect to recruit a full cohort of HS teachers to take the program. The classes will also offer a graduate level option which will require an additional class project, providing a useful opportunity for HS teachers who are pursuing a masters of education.We will connect each undergraduate student to a high school teacher who will act as a mentor and resource for the student. It is expected that the interactions between these teachers and students will more strongly engage both in the program, and provide the student with academic best practices to be successful. Teachers will be required, as part of their stipend, to report about their interactions with the student. A community will be built around an online NCSU website that will disseminate information about the program but also facilitate communication between all stakeholders in the program (e.g., high schools, universities, NCSU, industry, high school teachers, and undergraduate students).Our advisory group of principal stakeholders includes companies and organizations in the bioproducts and bioenergy arena, and higher education and secondary school systems in eastern North Carolina. These partners will be invited and encouraged to assess and evaluate the quality, expected outcomes, and potential impacts. On a semi-annual basis, we will conduct surveys on the program with these stakeholders and we will also conduct a virtual annual meeting in which the results to date and plans for the upcoming year are shared and discussed.The five courses that we plan to offer are based on several interviews with the bioproducts and bioenergy industry, leaders in research and policy, and university faculty engaged in the area (Biomass Production for the Bio Industry, Biomass Conversions to Bioproducts and Bioenergy, Sustainability in the Bioeconomy, Business Leadership in the Bioeconomy, Environmental Science and The Bioeconomy.We will use a Moodle distance learning environment that will be housed in the USDA-NIFA eXtension system (campus.extension.org). This environment allows for "web pages, video, books, lessons, assignments, forums, chat, certificates, databases, glossaries, quizzes, journals, and questionnaires," as explained by eXtension. We will have each course based on unit modules with regular structure that focus on a learning topic/outcome treated as a mini-class, with formative and summative module evaluations within. Exams will be computer graded to give immediate, formative assessment as a way to enhance students' content learning. We will emphasize digitized videos of (1) lectures, (2) laboratory and pilot plant experiments from NCSU, and (3) interviews with employees and footage from biomass supply, bioproducts, and bioenergy facilities to enrich the learning experience. A group discussion forum will be constructed where students can post their comments and questions. Teaching assistants will respond to students' questions through discussion form on a daily basis (or 2~3 times/week) and report to the instructor about the top issues that need to be addressed.In addition to this, the distance classes will be put on a MOOC platform (Massive Open Online Courses), such as Coursera, which has reached over 18 million learners worldwide, 45% of which are in the US (REF: https://blog.coursera.org/?q=million). Publishing the courses in Coursera will maximize our exposure to nationwide students.Dissemination of the project will be significant, including student poster sessions, HS science lessons and career fairs conducted by high school teachers (with guests from NCSU and from the bioeconomy industry), advertising and marketing of the distance courses and scholarships and opportunities available, and dissemination of the results by faculty and assistants at scientific and educational conferences. We will produce a quarterly newsletter sent (email) to bioproducts and bioenergy stakeholders in order to create awareness that this program will produce employees for workforce needs.Evaluation. Formative and summative assessment measures for the project will be made. The research graduate assistant will be responsible for compilation, analysis and communication under Dr. Blanchard's supervision. When appropriate, pre and post activity data will be analyzed with statistical methods to determine significance. Teachers will be paid a modest annual stipend for their participation in the program evaluation and survey aspects of the project. Pre and post testing of students at both the beginning and end of each course will provide us with a wealth of information regarding knowledge gained and areas where we can improve. It will also provide an evaluation tool of their course, e.g. materials, learning opportunities, experiences gained, etc. Over the life of the project, trend information will be developed and analyzed to illustrate the longer-term effectiveness of the curriculum. We will use the semi-annual stakeholders meetings as a gathering point of all involved in the program to review progress towards completing objectives for the program.Survey results of teachers and students as well as the overall results of the project will be communicated to peers via refereed journals, conferences, symposia, etc. This will take place in educational, science, and technology outlets. It is expected that the project will serve as a model for similar projects nationwide. It is expected that the teachers' knowledge and skills will be useful in teaching their high school science and technology lessons past the funded program time period. Additionally, the distance courses that will be produced are expected to serve as a core for a certificate program (on-campus and distance) based on the bioproducts and bioenergy area that outlasts the funded program period. Distance student registration fees (for students and teachers not in the original project) can be used to support administrative and content - providing assistance, making the education sustainable financially within the NC State structure, and living past the funded research timeframe.

Progress 06/15/20 to 06/14/21

Outputs
Target Audience:Fifteen undergraduates representing NC colleges and universities and sixteen high school teachers representing ten counties in Eastern North Carolina continued their participation in the program. The target audience was North Carolina STEM teachers in rural and urban settings with high percentages of underrepresented student populations. Graduate students, faculty, and Industry partners are also considered members of the target audience. Additionally, eight graduate students from the College of Natural Resources (CNR) and two graduate students from the College of Education at NC State University were considered as part of our program with respect to professional development. These students helped administer the program and contributed to the science education research data pertaining to grant impacts. Industry partners are actively advising the program and hosting student interns as program partners, and these students are sharing about their internship experiences while simultaneously contributing to science education research. This research intends to explore the outcomes and impacts for all participants of the Sustainable Bioproducts and Bioenergy program. Changes/Problems:Covid halted the plans for face to face HS teachers implementing hands on activities in their schools in the 2020-2021 period. We plan to resume these in the Fall of 2021. We had two program managers leave the program for new jobs and this necessitated extra efforts to continue the program. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Participating SBBP graduate students have served as co-developers and teaching assistants for the following courses: the Sustainable Bioeconomy, Biomass Conversion, and Environmental Life Cycle Analysis. These students held office hour study sessions, graded homework assignments, and helped assist faculty instructors with course improvement. Graduate students were also tasked to create, assemble, document and evaluate bioeconomy-related laboratory activities that could be used by high school teachers in their high school classrooms. Graduate students presented these new activities during the July teacher workshops (online, due to COVID), allowing the graduate students to practice presentation and communication skills and gain exposure to student-centered pedagogical practices. Graduate students assisted with filming lab activity videos and video editing to create YouTube content and widely distribute this content during COVID. Graduate students also gave several conference presentations at local and national conferences (see project products list). Graduate students have been mentoring undergraduate students who are assisting in the development of lab activities. Those graduate students in Forest Biomaterials have contributed to bioproducts research (see publications and papers in progress) while graduate Students in STEM Education have contributed to regional, national, and international education conferences. One dissertation was completed and one is in progress, supported by this USDA funding, and several research articles are underway and in review (see publications and papers in progress). For the High School Teacher participants in the program, the online 2020 workshop connected content knowledge with pedagogical methods. Teachers received 1.0 Continuing Education Credit for the workshop. With COVID-19 related face to face school closures, extra online teaching resources were shared through this project with the high school science teachers. Three online outreach events in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 with approximately 21 STEM teachers and 24 students in attendance were conducted. Our Program Manager continued to attend University Distance Education Learning and Teaching (DELTA) workshops to learn about engaging online learners and to make sure educational resources were accessible to all students. In addition to DELTA training, the program manager attended three diversity and inclusion training sessions, provided by the College of Natural Resources diversification initiative, with the goal of integrating diversity and inclusion related topics into course curriculum and assignments. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Two oral presentations were given on behalf of the SBBP at the Bridging the Gap regional conference with a total of 20 virtual attendees. The conference, hosted by the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR), connects industry, K-12, education researchers, and universities in North Carolina. Four oral/paper presentations were given at the NARST (National Association for Research and Science Teaching) international conference and two were given at the ASERA (Australasian Science Education Research Association) international conference. Both of these conferences bring together science education researchers and practitioners from around the world. A number of publications, listed in the products section of this report, originated from the SBBP project. These publications targeted science education journals like the Journal of Chemical Education (published by the American Chemical Society). Additionally, a book chapter was published in the Handbook of research on student, scientist, & teacher partnerships, published by IGI Global. Four SBBP MOOCs developed by the grant team have launched and been made available through eXtension over the last 2 years, with each MOOC having 20 to 25 registered attendees. For high school teachers participating in the program, an online workshop in the spring of 2021 connected content knowledge with pedagogical methods. Teachers received 1.0 Continuing Education Credit for the workshop. As a result of nationwide COVID-19 school closures and learning environment adaptation, online teaching resources were developed and shared with North Carolina high school science teachers. These resources were shared via three online outreach events in the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021 with approximately 21 teachers and 24 students in attendance. Websites have been created to disseminate these resources and bioeconomy labs/activities to a wider educators and public audiences. The SBBP website (https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/) has had a total of 1,800 site visits since February 2020 (when we started collecting website analytics). A STEM Career Awareness website (https://sites.ced.ncsu.edu/stem-career-awareness/) houses STEM career-related resources for students and teachers, and new resources have been added for bioeconomy-related careers. This site has had 4,500 visits since it was created in 2018. A Science Education graduate student successfully defended her dissertation in Spring 2021 to approximately 35 attendees. Her dissertation was focused on the undergraduate SBBP participants and their bioeconomy beliefs, career interests, and internship experiences. The SBBP program also manages an active Youtube account with educational videos that have received a total of 2,922 views. This includes 14 publicly available course/lectures videos (one of which was added in the last year). The course/lecture videos have received 1,211 total views, and the most viewed course video is Introduction to the Bioeconomy - Dr. Venditti (637 views). There are also 12 lab activity videos that are publicly available (4 of which were added in the last year). The lab activities videos have 1,711 total views, and the most viewed videos are SBBP Packing Peanuts Lab Activity (642 views), Yeast Bioreactor Lab Activity Intro Video (336 views), and Climate Change Lab Activity Intro Video (184 views). What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Approximately 5 to 7 new high school teachers will join the existing teacher cohort. The new teachers will participate in selected MOOC course(s) about the bioeconomy this summer to get up to speed with the original teachers. In the fall of 2021, all of the teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a one day professional development workshop to gain experience and refresh their skills with the bioeconomy laboratory activities. Teachers will have the opportunities to receive experience and offer feedback on developed lab activities. Teachers will be encouraged to incorporate at least two activities during the fall semester of 2021 and two activities during the spring semester of 2022 into their classrooms. For lab activities implemented in the classroom, high school students will take a pre-test and post-test to evaluate knowledge acquisition. Graduate students working as research assistants with the grant will be available to travel to the high schools to assist teachers with activity implementation. Analysis of the results of teacher interviews and student quizzes/surveys will be the basis of a peer-reviewed manuscript submission.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Goal 1: To develop five online college courses critical for the bioproducts and bioenergy industries. Three SBBP courses were offered over the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 periods: The Sustainable Bioeconomy (FB480/FB580), Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (PSE476/FB576), and Biomass Conversion (PSE295/FB595). For these courses, effort was made to expand course availability and enrollment to students outside the Department of Forest Biomaterials (FB) with the goal of increasing the outreach impact of the SBBP program. The Sustainable Bioeconomy course included 10 undergraduate (UG), 11 graduate students (G) (3 from Forest Biomaterials and 18 from departments outside the College of Natural Resources). The Environmental Life Cycle Analysis course included 21 UG, 11 G students (13 from FB department and 19 from departments outside College of Natural Resources). The Biomass Conversion course served 21 UG, 2 G students (1 from FB and 22 from departments outside the College of Natural Resources). In total, the courses served 77 students: 52 UG, 24 G (of which 17 were from FB and 59 were from outside CNR. Student quotes about the course: "I think this class was one of my most interesting! I did not expect to learn so much about so many different topics...so it felt very interdisciplinary...I learned about the many different products and technologies being developed. It was also interesting comparing these new, sustainable options to the petroleum industry. This class made me hopeful for how the bioeconomy could develop." "I've always had a broad idea of how biomass conversion worked but to get a more detailed explanation of different unit operations and the feedstocks that can be used was really cool. One of the big take aways I've gotten from this class is how "close" we are to affordable technology that will some of these processes more viable on a large scale. I think biofuel is the most promising of all of the products we've seen, just because it will have the largest impact in terms of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels." Goal 2: To create a certificate program including distance courses that will enable diverse undergraduate students to become career ready for the bioproducts and bioenergy industry. Grant directors and administrators have created four undergraduate courses, offered in an online asynchronous format, to support a certificate program. During the last reporting period, significant marketing efforts were made to share these courses with students outside the performing Department of Forest Biomaterials. This was done via two avenues; by certifying the Environmental Life Cycle Analysis course as an Interdisciplinary Perspectives (IP) course within the General Education Program (GEP) and by marketing these courses to students outside the College of Natural Resources. The course was officially registered as GEP IP course in Spring of 2021. In addition, marketing efforts were successful in recruiting a wide number of students from outside the performing department and exposing them to bioeconomy based concepts and careers. In some cases, these courses have even been accepted by other college departments as core course substitutes. Students that took SBBP courses as program participants were surveyed with respect to beliefs and career awareness related to the bioeconomy to determine if courses were effective at creating exposure to bioeconomy related topics and careers. The results are presented in The Development and Validation of the Beliefs about (BABB) and Career Interest in Bioproducts and Bioenergy (CIBB) Surveys (McAlexander, Noble, McCance, Blanchard, & Venditti, In review, BioResources). The CIBB and BABB surveys measured beliefs and career interest of UG student in bioproducts and bioenergy, discerned differences by class standing, gender, and major, and found that students in bioproduct/bioenergy related majors hold more positive beliefs than students in less related majors regardless of gender or race/ethnicity. Goal 3: To develop an internship and career opportunity network by initiating pathways for undergraduate students with the bioproducts and bioenergy training with industry, government, and research organizations Thirteen SBBP undergraduate students completed internships during summer 2019 with a total of 10 industry partners: AlgaenZ, RTI, NCSU, Novozymes, Arbiom, Domtar, the North American Plant Protection Organization, Cal Polytech, Lignetics, and Velocys. A graduate student funded by the USDA grant completed her dissertation in March 2021, focusing on the SBBP undergraduate students. She completed follow-up interviews with the undergrads about their internship experiences during 2020. Manuscripts are currently being written on these internship experiences and will be submitted for publication. Goal 4: To create a certificate program that includes distance classes and hands-on workshops for rural science high school teachers to earn a certificate in bioproducts and bioenergy Of the 20 high school science teachers who began the program in 2018, 16 have persisted. We have engaged with them over the reporting period through online outreach and professional development events while simultaneously shifting developmental efforts to creating online educational content in the form of online lab activities. This shift was necessary to support teachers who were forced to immediately modify lesson plans and learning activities into an online format that supported at-home learning as a result of COVID-19. We have engaged with 20 new or additional teachers in the program through online professional development activities (via Zoom) and email communication. One SBBP teacher participant enrolled in the Sustainable Bioeconomy course for the fall of 2020. This teacher participant went on to develop an action plan to integrate SBBP material into their high school lesson plans as part of the course graduate project. In addition to formal courses offered through NC State's Department of Forest Biomaterials, four massive open online courses (MOOCs) were made available in the spring of 2019 via the Extension Foundation eXtension web portal. As of spring 2021, the Biomass Conversion MOOC reports 23 course participants, the Environmental Life Cycle Assessment course reports 23 course participants, the Bioeconomy Business Analysis course reports 17 course participants, and the Sustainable Bioeconomy course reports 31 course participants. In addition, an online outreach event in the spring 2021 semester targeted North Carolina high school STEM teachers, disseminating online lab activity training and lab material supply kits to 20 teacher participants. Fifty percent of participating teachers identified as belonging to a school located in a rural area. Goal 5: To promote the use of bioproducts and bioenergy lesson activities in science classes in order to promote bioproducts and bioenergy career awareness to rural, underrepresented high school students Over the fall of 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, outreach efforts with North Carolina teachers and their classrooms were facilitated by the creation of four online lab activities (packing peanuts, water processing within a wastewater treatment plant, flotation deinking, and soap making) and the ongoing development of two more (making synthetic rubber and textile dyeing with fruit/vegetable extracts). Online lab activities were created with supporting lesson plans and were made available on the SBBP website (https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/) for teachers to facilitate online learning at home. Online event creation was necessary due to the impact of Covid-19, which had many students attending school activities from home. Two online outreach events were held to disseminate these lab activities, which were trialed in high school classrooms with 23 virtual student participants.

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: McCance, K. R., & Blanchard, M. R. (2021, April, Accepted). Investigating perceptions, experiences, and collectivism within interdisciplinary collaborations: A national survey. Poster to be presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: McCance, K. R., Teeter, S. D., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2021, April, Accepted). Using Cultural-Historical Activity Theory to Understand An Interdisciplinary Team's Co-Development of High School Lab Activities. Paper to be presented at National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: Blanchard, M. R., Collier, K. M., Rajwade, A. M., McCance, K. R., Mcalexander, S. L., & Venditti, R. A. (2021, April, Accepted). Analyzing whether teachers task values influenced their implementation of bioeconomy-focused lessons: A pilot study. Paper to be presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R. & Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (June, 2020). Graduate Students Perceptions of Participating in a Science/Engineering and Education Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Developing Community and Navigating Boundaries. Paper presented at the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Annual International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K. R., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. A. (June, 2020). How Recent Community College to University Transfer Students Experience Supported Science & Engineering Internships. Paper presented at the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Annual International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. A. (2021). Supporting Career Development and Internship Experiences of Historically Underrepresented Science and Engineering Undergraduate Transfer Students. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. A. (2021). An interdisciplinary approach to developing awareness and interest for bioproduct and bioenergy careers. Manuscript in preparation
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Scouse, A., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. A. (2021). Investigating Motivations for Participation in Bioproduct/Bioenergy Internships: Undergraduate Students and Industry Mentors.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Scouse, A. A., Kelley, S. S., Venditti, R. A., McConnell, T. E. 2020. Evaluating sustainable product alternatives by combining life cycle assessment with full-cost accounting: a highway guardrail case study. BioResources 15(4), 9103-9127.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: McCance, K. R., Teeter, S. D., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2021, August, Accepted). Analyzing an interdisciplinary teams interactions through an activity theory lens. Paper submitted to the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Under Review Year Published: 2021 Citation: Blanchard, M. R., Collier, K. M., Rajwade, A. M., McCance, K. R., Mcalexander, S. L., & Venditti, R. A. (2021, August, AcceptedIn Review). Understanding teacher implementation of bioeconomy activities through the lens of expectancy value theory. Paper submitted to the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Under Review Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Noble, S. M., McCance, K. R., Scouse, A., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. A. (2021, August, Accepted In Review). Measuring undergraduate students beliefs about bioproducts, bioenergy, and related careers. Paper submitted to the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) International Conference. Virtual due to COVID-19.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Under Review Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Webster, M., Blanchard, M. R. Venditti, R. A. (2021, Accepted). Supporting Transfer Students Career Development through Science/Engineering Internships: A Narrative Case Study. Paper to be presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) , Orlando, FL. (Virtual).
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2020 Citation: Collier, K. M., Davis, G., McCance, K. R., McAlexander, S., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (October, 2020). Integrating STEM, sustainability, and industry to promote interest in the bioeconomy. Presentation accepted for Bridging the Gap: Uniting North Carolina STEM Education, Raleigh, NC (Virtual).
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R., Sharma, S., Stover, M., Topliceanu, A., Collier, K. M., McAlexander, S., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (October, 2020). Students take the lead: Making sense of human impacts on the environment.Presentation accepted for Bridging the Gap: Uniting North Carolina STEM Education, Raleigh, NC (Virtual).
  • Type: Other Status: Submitted Year Published: 2021 Citation: Additional Grant Funding Application Blanchard, M.R., Venditti, R. A., McCance, K. R., Collier, K., McAlexander, S. L. (2020). Cultivating Partnerships with Rural High Schools and Industry to Diversify Participation in the Sustainable Bioeconomy. (Not Accepted). ITEST DTI. National Science Foundation. $1,499,989/4 years.
  • Type: Other Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: Additional Grant Funding Application Venditti, R. A., Scouse, A. A. (2021). NCSU Schenck Memorial Forest and Pulp and Paper Lab Virtual Tour (sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company). (Accepted). Eastman University Engagement Fund. $5,000/1 year.
  • Type: Book Chapters Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: Blanchard, M. R., Venditti, R. A., McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K. R., Collier, K. M. 2021. An interdisciplinary model to diversity STEM participation: college, high school, & industry partnerships. In D. Farland-Smith (Ed.), Handbook of research on student, scientist, & teacher partnerships (pp. 95-132). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-4966-7.ch007
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2021 Citation: McCance, K. R., Suarez, A., McAlexander, S. L., Davis, G., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2021). Modeling a biorefinery: Converting pineapple to bioproducts and biofuel. Journal of Chemical Education.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2021 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Noble, S. M., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2021). The Development and Validation of the Beliefs about (BABB) and Career Interest in Bioproducts and Bioenergy (CIBB) Surveys. Manuscript in Review.


Progress 06/15/19 to 06/14/20

Outputs
Target Audience: 15 Undergraduates representing NC colleges and universities and 16 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina continued their participation in the program for year 3. Students in our teachers' high school science classrooms were also exposed to the program. Graduate students, faculty, and Industry partners are also considered members of the target audience as well. Eight graduate students from the College of Natural Resources and two graduate students from the College of Education at NC State University helped administer the program and contributed to the science education research data pertaining tothe impacts of this grant program. Industry partners are actively advising the program and hosting interns, but they are also sharing about their experience of the internship program and contributing to the science education research. The educational research intends to understand the outcomes and impacts for all participants of the Sustainable Bioproducts and Bioenergy program. Changes/Problems:The onset of COVID-19 has required us to make several changes this year. Many teachers had planned to implement the bioproduct/bioenergy classroom activities this spring. Since all high school teachers converted to remote teaching, their plans were not carried out. We were able to help support their remote teaching by sharing our experience with online learning and sharing curated resources. Most teachers expect to conduct the activities with their students in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. The changes in teaching to online in high schools also resulted in delayed collection of our educational data. Because of new restrictions about guests on campus, the July 2020 workshop has been converted to a 1-day online meeting. We have also added a half day online workshop in December, and a final day workshop in July 2021. With these changes, we have requested to convert teacher stipends to honoraria to make sure they are compensated for their time and energy in the program. We have learned that the teachers play a critical role in the success of the program and we rely heavily on them to learn about the impacts of our activities on their students. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Graduate students have served as co-developers and teaching assistants for courses: Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy and Environmental Life Cycle Analysis. They held extra help sessions, graded homework assignments, and interacted with the faculty instructors on grading and other course administration. The graduate students were also tasked to create, assemble, document and evaluate bioeconomy-related laboratory activities that could be used by high school teachers in their high school classrooms. The graduate students facilitated hands-on lab activities during the July teacher workshops, allowing the graduate students to gain teaching practice and exposure to student-centered pedagogical practices. Graduate students also presented several conference presentations at local and national conferences (see Products). In addition, the graduate students have been mentoring undergraduate students who are assisting in the development of lab activities. Graduate students in Forest Biomaterials have contributed to bioproducts research (see publications and papers in progress). Graduate Students in STEM Education have contributed to regional, national, and international education conferences. Two dissertations are in progress due to this work and several research articles are underway and in review (see Products). For the High School Teacher participants in the program, the workshop connected content knowledge with pedagogical methods. Teachers received 6 graduate level credits for the courses and will be granted 3.2 Continuing Education Credits for each workshop. With the school changes resulting from COVID-19 closures, extra online teaching resources were shared with the high school science teachers. For the undergraduate student participants in the program, professional development elements were embedded within the curriculum of the course work for The Sustainable Bioeconomy class. Students were supported in the development and writing of their resumes and cover letters. Mock interviews were conducted to help prepare students for the selection process. Each student participated in a 10-12 week internship within industry, government, and research organizations related to bioproducts and bioenergy. Our Program Manager continued to attend University Distance Education Learning and Teaching (DELTA) office workshops to learn about engaging online learners and to make sure the educational resources were accessible to all students. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The reach of the work by the SBBP team continues to grow. In the last 2.5 years, the program has positively impacted over 50 members of NC State University; 4350 teachers, students, administrators, and parents from Eastern NC school districts; and over 100 individuals from bioproduct/bioenergy industries. Communication about the program with internal and external stakeholders has included contact via over 200 mailers, over 600 email recipients, and 1200 feature article reads (based on click rate). The program activities and high school lessons include written teacher and student manuals and introduction videos that are freely available on the program's website and YouTube Channel. The YouTube videos have over 1300 views. Popular videos include Introduction to the Bioeconomy, Bioproducts Part 1, What is Sustainability?, Paper Recycling (Parts 1 & 2), and Why Are People Talking About the Bioeconomy (Parts 1-3). The four NCSU courses are offered alternating semesters and a formal 12-credit certificate is under development. Versions of four courses are available as Massive Open Online Courses via the USDA-funded eXtension Campus platform site (https://impact.extension.org/) Participants can learn at their own pace and may choose to explore the topics in order, or focus on specific topics. The educational research aspects of the project, investigating changes in various participant groups, have been shared at a wide range of regional, national, and international research conferences and four manuscripts are in preparation. This program is currently being studied through two educational doctoral dissertations. The research projects include investigating the interdisciplinary collaboration between college groups, examining changes in teacher perceptions and practices, studying student internship experiences and outcomes, and researching the impacts of bioproducts and bioenergy activities in the high school classroom on student knowledge, attitudes and interest about science and engineering. In order to recruit students for the classes offered by the program, we have contacted all science and engineering departments at NCSU with descriptions of the courses. The content from the courses is now available to the greater population at NC State through the Forest Biomaterials course catalog. Students at NCSU are required to take a certain number of General Education Program (GEP) classes to graduate; the Sustainable Bioeconomy is an approved GEP course at NCSU. A website has been updated to share information about the program (https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/) with internal and external communities of interest . On the website we have posted educational resources, industry tour videos, and course lecture videos. The development of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the Sustainable Bioeconomy, Biomass Conversion, and Strategic Business Analysis, and Environmental Life Cycle Analysis is complete. These courses are now available to the general public through the eXtension Campus platform. Information about the program has been publicized in various outlets including: NC State College of Natural Resources News (March, 2020) NC State Program Offers Online Courses in Bioeconomy and Biomass. https://cnr.ncsu.edu/news/2020/03/nc-state-partnership-offers-online-bioeconomy-courses/ NC State College of Education News (August, 2019) College of Education and College of Natural Resources Partnership Provides Teachers with Professional Development in Bioproducts and Bioenergy. https://ced.ncsu.edu/news/2019/08/08/college-of-education-and-college-of-natural-resources-partnership-provides-teachers-with-professional-development-in-bioproducts-and-bioengineering/. NC State Forest Biomaterials News (November, 2019) Goldsboro High School Students Level-up their Biology & Chemistry Experience with a Visit to Pulp & Paper Labs. https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/2019/12/19/goldsboro-high-school-students-level-up-their-biology-chemistry-experience-with-a-visit-to-pulp-paper-labs/ Announcement from Biofuels Digest (August, 2019). North Carolina teachers get hands-on bioeconomy and bioenergy training. https://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2019/08/08/north-carolina-teachers-get-hands-on-bioeconomy-and-bioenergy-training/ ? What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Goal 1) The four courses, The Sustainable Bioeconomy (FB480/580); Biomass Conversion (PSE295/595); Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (PSE476/FB576); and Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy (PSE295/595) will be offered in the course catalog at NC State University. Recruitment efforts for these courses will target science and engineering departments for the undergraduate level course and education department for the graduate level courses. We are building the fifth course focused on Biomass Production this year. Goal 2) To create a certificate program including distance courses that will enable diverse undergraduate students to become career ready for the bioproducts and bioenergy industry . The department of Forest Biomaterials will work with the Distance Education Learning Technology Applications group (DELTA) to formalize a 12-credit undergraduate certificate focused on the bioeconomy. Goal 3) The main activities have been completed for goal 3. In the next year, we will focus on analyzing the data collected from these activities and disseminate the findings in journal publications and in public outreach/communications events. Goal 4) The participating high school teachers will engage in their second professional development workshop in July of 2020. During the online workshops, teachers will engage with faculty and students, lead group activities, give presentations about their classroom experiences, and facilitate discussions with partner teachers. Due tonew COVID-19 related restrictions about guests on campus the workshop has been converted to a 1-day online meeting, followed by a half day online workshop in December of 2020, and a final day workshop in July 2021. The department of Forest Biomaterials will work with the Distance Education Learning Technology Applications group (DELTA) to formalize a 12-credit graduate certificate focused on teaching/learning about the bioeconomy. Goal 5) The graduate student teams will develop six new bioproduct/bioenergy related classroom activities to share with the teachers at the workshops. Activities that are currently in development include: Big Data Biomass Simulation, Mixed Waste Recycling Separation Lab, Anaerobic Digestion Lab, Wastewater Treatment Simulation, Soap Making, and Starch-based Packaging Materials Lab. Laboratory supplies will be provided to teachers to help them carry out the activities. Teachers will be sharing the materials and teaching strategies that they learned from the workshops with their students and report back to us their evaluations on their experiences using tools from the workshop. Teachers will administer surveys and assessments to their students and share those with the educational research team.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Goal 1. In Fall 2019, two new courses were offered: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis (PSE476/FB576) and Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy (PSE295/595). For Environmental Life Cycle Analysis, students included 7 grant-supported undergraduates, 4 grant-supported high school teachers, and 24 NC State undergraduate and graduate students. For the Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy, students included 4 grant-supported undergraduates, 2 grant-supported high school teachers, and 1 NCSU undergraduate student. The Sustainable Bioeconomy (FB480/FB580) was offered a second time and included 1 grant-supported undergraduate, 2 grant-supported high school teachers, 4 NCSU undergraduate students. We applied for and were awarded four university technology grants to have all of our course videos professionally closed-captioned for greater accessibility. Teacher quote about course: "One of my favorite things from this course has been learning about biofuel production from algae...Overall, I enjoyed learning about an area that I have always been curious in, but I have most enjoyed being able to take information back to my classroom." Undergraduate student quote about course: "I have really enjoyed learning about the bioeconomy, bioproducts, and bioenergy...I learned a lot about the various jobs available in this industry. From education program specialist, to engineer, to communication, there are a number of opportunities to work in this career and do really well economically...The knowledge of creating a greener world is increasing and once we spread the news I believe more people will be apt to purchase bioproducts and make a conscious effort to contribute to this great cause." Goal 2: Of the 19 undergraduate students who entered the program, 14 of the students went on to complete The Sustainable Bioeconomy and Biomass Conversion courses and generated great discussion around their curiosity about the bioeconomy. Twelve students selected and completed the third course to complete their 9-credits supported by the grant. Educational research surveys were developed and delivered to program participants and are undergoing analysis to determine content knowledge and attitudinal changes resulting from course participation. Student writings and interviews provided information about student experiences with the courses and professional development activities. Goal 3: The internship program was designed to give students their first science/engineering work experience. Thirteen students participated in the internship program during summer of 2019, engaging in research, project development, and operations. Each internship experience ran for 10-12 weeks, and students conducted a self-directed project, training under the guidance of a mentor. In-state placements included AlgaenZ, RTI, NCSU, Novozymes, Arbiom, Domtar, and the North American Plant Protection Organization. Out-of-state placements included Cal Polytech, Lignetics, and Velocys. Here is a representative industry partner comment about internship: "Thank you very much for your professional and friendly support of this program. It was outstanding!" -Frank Kvietok, Director of Innovation, Lignetics. Students expressed a new-found confidence in their career journeys. One female student shared about the experience: "I learned more in 10 weeks than I would have in an entire semester [of school]...I am so grateful for this amazing experience and program. I appreciate all your support and help throughout these two years." Educational research is underway to analyze student reflective writings and interviews about their internship experiences and the role the internship plays in the career journey of college and community college students as part of a science education dissertation study by Shana McAlexander. Goal 4. A total of 19 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina were selected as program participants. The teachers completed 6 graduate credits for the Sustainable Bioeconomy and the Biomass Conversion courses and discussed lesson implementation in the high school classroom as part of the course activities. The teacher professional development workshops were designed as collaborative sessions for teachers, faculty, graduate students, and industry partners to share experiences and create engaging lessons for high school science classes. The workshops, in summers 2019 and 2020, connected content knowledge with pedagogical methods. Led by the graduate student team, seven hands-on laboratory activities were co-developed and tested for alignment with science and engineering standards and implementation into high school science classrooms for 2019, and more are in development for the 2020 workshop. In the workshop evaluation, one High School Teacher commented: "This workshop was one of the best professional development courses that I have attended in a long time. The labs were well written and the debriefing sessions were helpful for classroom implementation. Additionally, the guest speakers and the discussion topics were relatable for me as a teacher and will impact my classroom for years to come." The educational research with high school teachers includes a time-series of surveys and interviews. Qualitative analysis of teachers' discussion forum responses and courses reflections showed that all teachers expressed interest in incorporating new bioeconomy-related content into their own classes or had already started to incorporate these topics by mid-course. Almost half of the teachers described how they had modified their teaching methods or planned on modifying them (e.g., incorporating online/digital classroom tools, more class discussions, articles, case studies). Another study examined the dynamics of teacher pairs- when two teachers from the same school participated in the program. Teachers' interactions with the course instructors and their partner-teacher were perceived as the most useful supports. Teachers' learning was motivated by their perceptions of how relevant the course material was to their own teaching/learning with their students. Goal 5: Following the workshops, teachers selected science equipment and supplies to use during bioproduct and bioenergy lab activities in their classroom (totaling $1500 per teacher). The bioproduct and bioenergy activities include:1) biorefinery modeling with pineapple biomass to produce ethanol and paper, 2) modeling of greenhouse gases and global warming potential, 3) production and evaluation of biopolymers, 4) yeast bioreactor design and fermentation optimization, 5) photosynthesis lesson with algae, 6) paper recycling, 7) enzymes for biofuels. Graduate students have led the development effort of these labs. The activities of the grant program have been shared with over 4350 teachers, students, administrators, and parents from Eastern NC school districts. The program activities and high school lessons include written teacher and student manuals and introduction videos that are free and publically available on the program's website (https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/) and YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP-g7Vknjb1AaqS1d_QJyzA). The program has supported various Bioproducts and Bioenergy in STEM events, including class field trips and university visits. To highlight one outreach event, the College of Natural Resources hosted fifteen biology and chemistry high school students from Goldsboro High School (95% eligible for free and reduced lunch and 98% minority enrollment) to learn about natural resources majors and careers and expanded their bioeconomy related science knowledge with hands-on labs. Their teacher, Mr. Almerino, wrote: "Our students learned a lot of science as well as realizing that there are other fields of science that are equally satisfying career-wise and financially."

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Sagues, W. J., Assis, C. A., Hah, P., Sanchez, D. L., Johnson, Z., Acharya, M., ... & Park, S. (2020). Decarbonizing agriculture through the conversion of animal manure to dietary protein and ammonia fertilizer. Bioresource Technology, 297, 122493.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Sagues, H. Jameel, D. L. Sanchez, and S. Park. 2020. Prospects for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture & Storage (BECCS) in the United States Pulp and Paper Industry accepted with revision by Energy & Environmental Science (IF: 33.250)
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Sagues, J. Yang, N. Monroe, S. D. Han, T. Vinzant, M. Yung, H. Jameel, M. Nimlos, & S. Park. 2020. Green Graphite: A Simple Method for Producing Bio-Based Anode Materials for Lithium-Ion Batteries under review by Advanced Materials (IF: 25.809)
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Zambrano, F., Starkey, H., Wang, Y., de Assis, C.A., Venditti, R., Pal, L., Jameel, H., Hubbe, M.A., Rojas, O.J. and Gonzalez, R., 2020. Using Micro-and Nanofibrillated Cellulose as a Means to Reduce Weight of Paper Products: A Review. BioResources, 15(2), pp.4553-4590.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: J. D. Zwilling, X. Jiang, R. Venditti, H. Jameel, O. D.Velev, O. J. Rojas, & R. Gonzalez. 2020. Synthesis of Lignin Micro-and Nanoparticles with Tunable Nucleation and Stability by Solvent Fractionation under review by Green Chemistry.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (June 2020). How Recent Community College to University Transfer Students Experience Supported Science & Engineering Internships. Paper accepted for presentation at Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Annual International Conference, Online Meeting.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R. & Blanchard, M. R. (March 2020). When Differences Dont Divide: Graduate Students Perceptions of Participating in an Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Paper presentation at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Annual International Conference, Portland, OR. (Conference Canceled)
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2019 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Topliceanu, A., Sharma, S., McCance, K., Starkey, H., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (October 23, 2019). Building a sustainable future with bioproducts & bioenergy in science curricula. Oral presentation at Bridging the Gap 2019: Uniting North Carolina STEM Education, Raleigh, NC.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2019 Citation: McCance, K., McAlexander, S., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (September 2019). Promoting Student Interest in the Bioeconomy and Related Careers: Successes and Challenges of a Teacher Professional Development Program. Oral presentation to be presented at a roundtable at the Mid-Atlantic Association for Science Teacher Education, Pipestem, WV.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2019 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (August 27, 2019) A Novel Interdisciplinary Approach to Diversify Bioeconomy Participation: A Pilot Study. Oral presentation presented at the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference, Bologna, Italy.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K., Noble, S., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2020). Undergraduate Beliefs about Bioproducts/Bioenergy and Related Careers. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2020). Preparing the STEM Workforce to Support a Sustainable Bioeconomy: A Systematic Mapping Review to Inform Future Education Research. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (June 2020). Graduate Students Perceptions of Participating in a Science/Engineering and Education Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Developing Community and Navigating Boundaries. Paper accepted for presentation at Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) Annual International Conference, Online Meeting.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Under Review Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R., Suarez, A., McAlexander, S. L., Davis, G., Venditti, R., & Blanchard, M. R. (2020). Modeling a biorefinery: Converting pineapple to bioproducts and biofuel. Manuscript in review.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R., Blanchard, M. R. (2020). Interdisciplinary collaborations between science/engineering and education: A systematic literature review. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Other Year Published: 2020 Citation: McCance, K. R., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (2020). Exploring graduate students perceptions of participating in a science, engineering, and education interdisciplinary collaboration. Manuscript in preparation.


Progress 06/15/18 to 06/14/19

Outputs
Target Audience:Program recruiting was conducted at 10 regional colleges and universities included emailing and mailing marketing materials to administrators, faculty members, and student clubs. Over 80 undergraduate students applied for the program including those from supporting institutions: St. Augustine (HBCU), Meredith College (women's college), and Wake Technical Community College. Program recruiting for high school teachers was done by email and mailers. Over 200 mailers were sent to eastern NC high schools. Emails were sent to school principals and administrators. Over 80 high school teachers applied for the program. 20 Undergraduates representing 8 institutions and 20 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina were selected as program participants. Students in classrooms with participating science teachers will be exposed to the program. Graduate students, faculty, and Industry partners are also considered members of the target audience as well as research participants. Six graduate students from the College of Natural Resources and two graduate students from the College of Education at NC State University help administer the program but, they are also contribute to the science education research data about the impacts of this grant program. Industry partners are acitvely advising the program and hosting interns, but they are also sharing about their experience of the program and contrubting to the science education research. The educational research intends to understand the outcomes and impacts for all participants of the Sustainable Bioproduct and Bioenergy. program. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?For the professional development of the PI's and Program Manager, the team has engaged with the NIFA Bioeconomy Grant group at Ohio State University. Through this partnership, our Program manager was able to attend the Fall 2018 CABLE/ABLC conference. The leadership teams from both grants have shared knowledge about educational experiences, evaluation, and sustainability of program elements. At ABLC, companies were recruited to host summer internships. In Spring 2019, our team helped host the CABLE group at NC State's campus. Students, staff, and faculty shared experiences about the bioeconomy, career panels and attended industry tours to Novozymes and NCSU Biotechnology Center. Our Program Manager continued to attend University Distance Education Learning and Teaching (DELTA) office workshops to learn about engaging online learners and making sure the educational resources were accessible to all students. Graduate students have served as co-developers and teaching assistants for The Sustainable Bioeconomy and The Biomass Conversion courses. They held extra help sessions, graded homework assignments, and interacted with the faculty instructors on grading and other course administration. In addition, one graduate student who is interested in an academic career, provided lecture content for both courses. Teaching assistants provided extra review and exam prep sessions and were instrumental in co-developing homework assignments and tests. The graduate students were also tasked to create, assemble, document and evaluate laboratories related to the bioeconomy that could be used by high school teachers in their high school classrooms. The graduate students facilitated hands-on lab activities during the August 2018 orientation event. They also ran two separate bioproduct and bioenergy activity trial events in May of 2019 to test out the recently developed labs. These experiences provided graduate students with teaching practice and exposed them to student-centered pedagogical practices. Graduate students also presented several conference presentations at local and national conferences. In addition, the graduate students have been mentoring undergraduate students who are assisting in the development of lab activities. For the High School Teacher participants in the program, their engagement in the two courses provided for increased science and engineering content knowledge. The workshop intends to connect that content knowledge with pedagogical methods. Teachers received 6 graduate level credits for the courses and will be granted 3.2 Continuing Education Credits for the workshop. For the undergraduate student participants, professional development elements were embedded within the curriculum of the course work for The Sustainable Bioeconomy class. Students were supported in the development and writing of their resumes and cover letters. Mock interviews were conducted to help prepare students for the selection process. Internship hosts were recruited from new and existing departmental contacts in industry, government, and research institutions. Students submit reflective writings to investigate their own personal and professional growththroughout their training experience for later analysis by educational researchers. Additionally, the Project Manager of the program had an opportunity to perform a teaching clinic for five facultyinstructors involved in the NCSU Hands On Workshop for Pulp and Paper industrial short course. This course has about 120 adult learners each year. Several best-practices for adult learning were discussed during a mini-workshop. In addition, the Project Manager provided instructor self-reflection video-based evaluation activities for the faculty instructors. The faculty watched selected video clips and reflected on how their instruction could be improved. The overall activity was shown to instigate positive changes in the Hands On Workshop. The overall activity is targeted to be written up in a peer-reviewed article. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? During an All-college meeting with the College of Natural Resources at NC State University, approximately 150 faculty and staff learned about the goals, activities, and impacts of our grant program. During an annual Paper Science and Engineering Foundation meeting, 250 attendees from industry and the NC State university network, learned about the grant and were invited to host undergraduates in the summer internship program. In order to recruit students for the classes offered by the program, we have contacted all science and engineering departments at NCSU with descriptions of the courses. The content from the courses is now available to the greater population at NC State. In Spring 2019, our team helped host the CABLE group at NC State's campus. Students, staff, and faculty shared experiences about the bioeconomy and attended industry tours and career panels. Dr. Venditti and Shana McAlexander gave a short presentation during the welcoming banquet describing our grant program to the Cable group. Approximately 20 faculty and 20 students from various universities were represented. An extensive effort was made to organize summer internships for undergraduate students in the grant program. Approximately 75 companies, academic units and organizations were contacted with information about the program, students, and internship program. Industry partners were interested in learning about the program and how they could contribute. A website has been established to share with internal and external communities of interest about the program: https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/. On the website we have posted educational resources, industry tour videos, and course lecture videos. The development of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the Sustainable Bioeconomy and Biomass Conversion is underway using the the eXtension platform. Moodle packages offered through NC State will be copied over to the MOOC platform. Our program has gotten press from various outlets: Forest Biomaterials Department News (May, 2019) Forest Biomaterials Supports Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE) Spring Conference. Retrieved from https://cnr.ncsu.edu/fb/news/2019/05/forest-biomaterials-supports-consortium-for-advanced-bioeconomy-leadership-education-cable-spring-conference/. Program feature article. Forest Biomaterials Department News (March, 2019) USDA Education Grant Supports Student Interns & Bolsters Industry Partnerships. Retrieved from https://cnr.ncsu.edu/fb/news/2019/03/usda-education-grant-supports-student-interns-bolsters-industry-partnerships/. Program feature article. NC State College of Natural Resources News (August, 2018) New Program to Fuel Bioeconomy Launches. Retrieved from https://cnr.ncsu.edu/news/2018/08/new-program-to-fuel-bioeconomy-launches/. Program feature article. NC State College of Natural Resources News (January, 2018) The 3 E's of Developing a Bioproducts and Bioenergy Pipeline: Education, Economics, and Excitement. Retrieved from https://cnr.ncsu.edu/news/2018/01/the-3-es-of-developing-a-bioproducts-and-bioenergy-pipeline-education-economics-and-excitement/. Program feature article. Cumberland County Schools featured an article about 4 of their High School teachers who are participating in the program. https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/2019/02/19/370/ http://ccs.k12.nc.us/2018/10/01/4-local-teachers-selected-for-ncsu-bioproducts-usda-grant-sustainable-bioproduct-and-bioenergy-program/ Acceptance and participation in the Sustainable Bioproduct & Bioenergy Program was celebrated by a number of high school administrators. Erica Shoulders-Royster, Principal at Franklin County Early College High School, shared about Sanjana Sharma, acceptance into the program with a school newsletter. https://www.smore.com/9hpsr-eagle-news?ref=email-content#w-9486894483 Announcement from UNC "NC STATE AWARDED GRANT TO ADVANCE AMERICA'S BIOECONOMY" https://news.tracs.unc.edu/index.php/15-news-announcements/861-nc-state-awarded-grant-to-advance-americas-bioeconomy What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Goal 1: To develop five online college courses critical for the bioproducts and bioenergy industries Two more online courses are in development and will be offered for the Fall 2019 semester: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis and Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy. All four courses will be offered as MOOCs through the eXtension platform. Goal 2: To create a certificate program including distance courses that will enable diverse undergraduate students to become career ready for the bioproducts and bioenergy industry Students, in the program, will take and complete their summer internship and last course in the informal certificate series. Educational research will be conducted to understand changes in student understanding, attitudes and beliefs, and career interests as a result of their participation in the program. Goal 3:To develop an internship and career opportunity network by initiating pathways for undergraduate students with the bioproducts and bioenergy training with industry, government, and research organizations Students will complete their internship training experience and reflect upon their growth. Educational research will be conducted and disseminated to share the learning from the internship experience from various perspectives. Goal 4: To create a certificate program that includes distance classes and hands-on workshops for rural science high school teachers to earn a certificate in bioproducts and bioenergy Teachers will implement bioeconomy lessons and hands-on activities in their classrooms. Educational research will be conducted regarding teacher changes in teaching beliefs and practices, and high school student awareness and interest in bioproducts and bioenergy. Goal 5:To promote the use of bioproducts and bioenergy lesson activities in science classes in order to promote bioproducts and bioenergy career awareness to rural, underrepresented high school students? Two survey instruments are under development to investigate teacher and student perceptions and beliefs about bioproducts and bioenergy and their interest in pursuing related careers. The surveys were administered to over 200 undergraduate students to validate the questions. The validated survey will serve to assess grant participant changes over the course of their participation in the program. The development and validation of the instruments will be submitted for publication and therefore available for other researchers to use. Graduate students will work with high school teachers to refine hands-on activities. Other activities that are under development and include a simplified LCA activity comparing various shoe designs and the fundamentals of composting and biodegradation. Teachers will also learn about cutting edge research in bioproducts and bioenergy from faculty, graduate students, and industry partners. Teachers will implement bioeconomy lessons and hands-on activities in their classrooms. Educational research will be conducted regarding high school student awareness and interest in bioproducts and bioenergy and related careers.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Goal 1:The Sustainable Bioeconomy course was offered for the Fall 2018 semester and 40 students completed the course. Student responses to the course were positive. The course will be offered again in Fall 2019. This course was approved for credit as a GEP in Interdisciplinary studies at NC State University. Together graduate students, staff and faculty developed this course as a comprehensive overview about bioproduct and bioenergy industries. It is interdisciplinary in nature, highlighting perspectives from science/engineering, economics, environmental, and social sciences. A recording studio was set up to record high quality lecture segments. Industry professionals share their career experiences through videos in the course. A second 3-credit course, Biomass Conversion for the Bioproducts & Bioenergy, was developed and offered in the Spring 2019 semester and 37 students were enrolled in the course. Interactive video was employed to increase the engagement of students in the asynchronous online course. Two more courses are in development and will be offered for the Fall 2019semester: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis and Strategic Business Analysis for the Bioeconomy. Selected student comments: "Going into this course I knew little to nothing about the bioeconomy. I knew about recycling and some bioproducts but I did not know how vast the bioeconomy is. There are so many products that can be produced from biomass and a huge range of products from materials to energy." -Undergraduate grant participant "I have changed my curriculum to include more focus on bioproducts, bioproduct production, and bioindustry careers.In addition to changing the way I teach, my participation in this program has also influenced the choices I make as a consumer and a private citizen. I am more conscientious of the choices I make and the potential impact those choices will have on our ecosystem." - HS Teacher Grant Participant Goal 2: Entering the program in Fall 2018, 19 undergraduate students, representing 8 regional colleges and universities attended a 1-day orientation event where they started to build a learning community, understand the activities of the program, and engage with hands-on labs that highlighted skills and careers related to bioproducts and bioenergy. Of the 19 students, 14 of the students went on to complete The Sustainable Bioeconomy and Biomass Conversion courses and generated great discussion around their curiosity about the bioeconomy. Students in the program are active in their summer 2019 internship in bioeconomy-related companies and organizations. Students will select from one of the last two classes to complete their informal certificate. Goal 3: Summer internships will run for 10-12 weeks and students are expected to have some portion of their experience as a self-directed project, training under the guidance of a mentor. Over 75 organizations were approached about hosting student interns and about 40 were interested in hosting interns. Students underwent a selection process through resume review and interviews and 13 were placed with bioeconomy-related internships this summer at 10 different companies and organization. Algaen (Winston-Salem, NC) is developing microalgae technologies for nutraceuticals,, pharmaceuticals and bioenergy. RTI International (RTP, NC) is conducting research on biofuels. NC State Forest Biomaterials (Raleigh, NC) is researching biomaterials development. California Polytechnic State University's (San Luis Obispo, CA) Lindquist Lab is investigating Algae applications. Lignetics (Louisville, CO) uses biomass processing to develop biopower and bioproducts. Novozymes (Franklinton, NC) produces enzymes. Arbiom (Durham, NC) develops wood to protein for aquaculture and animal feed. Velocys (Houston, TX) developscatalytic paths to produce low-carbon fuels from a variety of waste. Domtar (Plymouth, NC) is a pulp and paper manufacturer actively developing/incorporating biorefinery concepts into their mills. North American Plant Protection Organization (Raleigh, NC) develops standards and other activities to combat plant pests. Goal 4. A total of 19 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina were selected as program participants. Teachers met in-person at a 1-day orientation event in which they started to build a learning community, understand the activities of the program, and engage with hands-on labs that highlighted skills and careers related to bioproducts and bioenergy. A total of 16 of the teachers went on to complete The Sustainable Bioeconomy and the Biomass Conversion courses and discussed lesson implementation in the high school classroom as part of the course activities. Educational research surveys were developed and delivered to program participants and are undergoing analysis to determine content knowledge and attitudinal changes resulting from course participation. The first teacher workshop is scheduled for July 9-12. All participating teachers will travel to NC State's campus for 4 days of learning and discussion about integrating bioproduct and bioenergy concepts into their curriculum. Goal 5: Substantial progress has been made to develop the four-day teacher workshop for the teachers, scheduled for July 9-12. This workshop will include teaching pedagogy lessons, bioeconomy lectures and guests, a visit to an educational forest, and several hands-on laboratory exercises. Seven hands-on laboratory activities have been developed and tested for alignment with science and engineering standards and implementation into high school science classrooms. Hands-on laboratory activities developed with the 5E learning cycle model include:1) biorefinery modeling with pineapple biomass to ethanol and paper, 2) modeling of greenhouse gases and global warming potential, 3) production and characterization of biopolymers, 4) yeast bioreactor design and fermentation optimization, 5) photosynthesis lesson with algae, 6) paper recycling, 7) enzymes for biofuels. The activities were trialed 1) with undergraduate students from the College of Natural Resources at NCSU on May 2, 2019 and 2) high school students participating in SATELLITE STEM camp on May 13, 2019. These activities will be introduced to the high school teachers during the summer workshop. Graduate students have led the development effort of these labs. The graduate students have also had a chance to mentor undergraduate students assisting in developing the lab activities. Another ongoing science education research project within this program investigates the interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Education and the College of Natural Resources. Little is understood about the best practices, benefits, and challenges of such a collaboration. Group planning meetings and interviews have been recorded and qualitatively analyzed. A publication is targeted on this study to disseminate the results. It also should be noted that one high school teacher participating in the program has successfully taken papermaking learnings from our initial teacher workshop. He then used this knowledge to mentor a group of four diverse high school students in a major scientific competition activity. The group took agricultural waste (corn husk material) and pulped the material and then produced paper from the fibers, demonstrating the advantages of a circular economy and the biorefinery concept. The project garnered two awards in separate competitions. The findings actually helped spur the development of the biorefinery activity based on pineapple being developed in our program.

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2019 Citation: McAlexander, S. L., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (Accepted for August 26, 2019) A Novel Interdisciplinary Approach to Diversify Bioeconomy Participation: A Pilot Study. Oral presentation proposal accepted at European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference, Bologna, Italy.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2019 Citation: McCance, K., Sagues, W. J, McAlexander, S. L., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (Accepted for June 12, 2019) An Interdisciplinary Educational Program to Promote Interest in the Circular Bioeconomy. Oral presentation at ACS Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, Reston, VA.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2018 Citation: Starkey, H., McAlexander, S., McCance, K., Blanchard, M. R., & Venditti, R. (October, 2018). Generating Excitement for careers in the bioeconomy: A four-year partnership with rural high schools, community colleges, universities, and industry. Oral presentation at Bridging the Gap 2018: Uniting North Carolina STEM Education, Raleigh, NC.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2018 Citation: McCance, K. R., McAlexander, S. L., Blanchard, M. R., Venditti, R. (September, 2018). The Collaborative, Interdisciplinary Development of Authentic Science Investigations that Promote Interest in Careers in the Bioeconomy. Oral presentation at Mid-Atlantic Association for Science Teacher Education, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Type: Websites Status: Other Year Published: 2018 Citation: Website and marketing brochures/postcards were created to share information about the project and to recruit participants. https://research.cnr.ncsu.edu/sites/sustainablebioproducts/


Progress 06/15/17 to 06/14/18

Outputs
Target Audience:Program recruiting was conducted at 10 regional colleges and universities included emailing and mailing marketing materials to administrators, faculty members, and student clubs. Nine recruiting presentations were given to recruit applicants. Over 80 undergraduate students applied for the program including those from supporting insitutions: St. Augustine (HBCU), Meredith College (women's college), and Wake Technical Community College. Program recruiting for high school teachers was done by email and mailers. Over 200 mailers were sentto eastern NC high schools. Emails were sent to school principals and administrators. Over 80 high school teachers applied for the program. 20 Undergraduates representing 8 institutions and 20 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina were selected as program participants. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?1. Faculty and graduate student team participated in Distance Educationbest practices workshop. 2. Program manager attended national research conference to gain training on educational research methods. 3. Program manager attended University Distance Education and Learning officeworkshops to learn about engaging online learners. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? A website has been established to share with internal and external communities of interest about the program:https://sites.google.com/ncsu.edu/sustainablebioproductsbioenerg NC State College of Natural Resources shared news story about the grant program:https://cnr.ncsu.edu/news/2018/01/the-3-es-of-developing-a-bioproducts-and-bioenergy-pipeline-education-economics-and-excitement/ Program dissemination and recruitingwas conducted at 10 regional colleges and universities included emailing and mailing marketing materials to administrators, faculty members, and student clubs with face-to-face conversation withover 200 people. Nine recruiting presentations were given to recruit applicants. Program dissemination recruiting for high school teachers was done by email and mailers. Over 200 mailers send to eastern NC high schools. Emails were sent to school principals and administrators. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Goal 1: Two more courses will be developed: Biomass Conversion and Environmental Sustainability.Educational research surveys will be developed and delivered to program participants. Goal 2: Undergraduates will meet in August 2018 for program orientation. Undergraduate program participantswill begin course work toward informal certificate. 20 undergraduate student will complete Sustainable Bioeconomy (Fall 2018) andBiomass Conversion (Spring 19) courses.Educational research surveys will be developed and delivered to program participants. Goal 3: Industry partners offering internships will be matched with undergraduate program participants. Educational research surveys will be developed and delivered to program participants. Goal 4: High school science teachers will meet in August 2018 for program orientation.Undergraduate program participantswill begin course work toward informal certificate. 20 High school teachers will complete Sustainable Bioeconomy (Fall 2018) andBiomass Conversion (Spring 19) courses.Educational research surveys will be developed and delivered to program participants. Goal 5. Graduate students will develop hands-on activities for program participants to try out during orientation event and teacher workshop. These activities will be adapted, with teacher input, for the high school classroom setting.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Goal 1.The Sustainable Bioeconomy is offered for Fall 2018. Graduate students and faculty have created a comprehensive introductory course about bioproduct and bioenergy. Elements of science/engineering, economics, and environmental studies are woven throughout the course. A recording studio was set up to record high quality lecture segments. Industry professionals will also share about their career experiences through videos in the course. We have collected on-site footage from Tyton Biofuels and Domtar Paper to highlight the scale of biorefineries in North Carolina. Goal 2. Program recruiting was conducted at 10 regional colleges and universities included emailing and mailing marketing materials to administrators, faculty members, and student clubs. Nine recruiting presentations were given to recruit applicants. Over 80 undergraduate students applied for the program. Goal 3: Addressed in year 2 Goal 4. Program recruiting for high school teachers was done by email and mailers. Over 200 mailers send to eastern NC high schools. Emails were sent to school principals and administrators. Over 80 high school teachers applied for the program. 20 Undergraduates representing 8 institutions and 20 high school teachers representing 10 counties in Eastern North Carolina were selected as program participants. Goal 5: Addressed in year 2

Publications