Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis

Research Experiences for Teachers

Now accepting applications for summer 2017!

  • High School Teacher Application - We encourage applications from multiple teachers from the same school to promote and maintain interdisciplinary linkages between classes.  Teachers are also encouraged to participate for two consecutive summers to give you the chance to modify your curricular materials and extend your research. A total of 9 teachers will be selected.
  • Undergraduate Student Application (doc) - A total of 6 undergraduate level, pre-service teachers training to become science or math instructors will be selected.  Students from nearby education programs such as the University of Kansas UKanTeach program and Emporia State University are encouraged to apply.

Program Dates:  June 5-29 and July 10-20, 2017 (6 weeks total, with a week-long break for the 4th of July holiday)

Deadline to submit: February 28, 2017

Program Overview

Participants will engage in full-time, discovery-based research at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS, under the guidance of faculty mentors from biology, chemistry, ecology and engineering departments. We will meet four days a week (Monday through Thursday) for six weeks total. We hope that the three day weekends and week-long break for the 4th of July holiday will make the experience easier and more effective for those individuals with family responsibilities.

Program highlights include:

  • Assistance developing lesson materials to take back to your classroom (with scientific inquiry and/or engineering design components) 
  • Discussion sessions and workshops to gain pedagogical and laboratory skills. 
  • Tours of research labs and state-of-the-art facilities at the University of Kansas
  • Become part of a network of teachers (29 total to date)


  • In-Service Teachers: $6,500 stipend for summer program, with option for $1,500 for implementing, assessing and disseminating lesson materials; $1,000 per year to cover cost of lab supplies and educational materials; food and lodging during the summer research experience; and travel money to present at a state or national conference
  • Undergraduates studying to become math or science teachers: $2,000 for participating in the summer program and $500 for preparing lesson materials; opportunity to experience real-world research and a chance to help  develop new instructional materials that incorporate scientific inquiry and/or engineering design


  • Current high school science teacher (chemistry, biology, general science, environmental science, physics, etc.) or undergraduate studying to become a math or science teacher
  • Participation in all RET activities during the summer
  • Commitment to create novel lesson materials
  • Commitment to use new lesson materials during the academic year following the RET experience
  • Willingness to assess lessons and disseminate them to colleagues

Example Research Topic Areas

  • Ecosystem Processes Related to Biomass Production
  • Maximizing Oil Production from Algae Biomass
  • Extracting Oils from Biomass for Producing Biofuels
  • Optimizing Biodiesel Production
  • Making valuable chemical intermediates from renewable resources
  • Using nanomaterials to convert biomass to useful chemicals
  • Thermodynamics of Biodiesel-Powered Engines and other renewable energy sources
  • Measuring Emissions from Biodiesel Fueled Vehicles

Overall Program Goals

  • Provide professional development training and research opportunities to increase high school teachers’ knowledge base and awareness of research methods;
  • Nurture long-term linkages between KU faculty and surrounding educational community;
  • Guide the creation of original, standards-based, curricular materials for widespread dissemination;
  • Engage students in real-world applications to demonstrate that solutions to complex problems often require integration of knowledge from  multiple subject areas;
  • Promote interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Lesson materials created by previous SHIFT participants

News about past programs and participants

Program Partners

The activities will take place at KU's Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC). You can make a world of difference by changing how fuels and chemicals are made.  This is why CEBC researchers are inventing cleaner, safer chemical processes that protect the planet and human health. Other partners include the KU Biodiesel Initiative and the Southeast Kansas Educational Service Center in Greenbush, Kansas.

What are other teachers saying about SHIFT?

“Agriculture is a HUGE part of my school and the ease with which I was able to insert the renewable fuels activities and concepts into the chemistry curriculum was amazing. High interest, high relevance, and high achievement by my students.”  --Jenny Gartner, chemistry/physics, Labette County HS

“I’m a scientist too… not just a teacher.” --Andrew Ising, biology, Junction City HS

“It’s a great collaboration opportunity and it’s not just during the summer, it’s during the whole school year.” –Amy Johnston, chemistry/physics, Olathe North HS

“I loved the cross-content sharing of information. We didn’t work in isolation.  Instead, there was a blending of knowledge. I really want to do this with my students on a high school level.” –Shannon Ralph, Dodge City HS

Have questions? Contact: 

Dr. Claudia Bode
Education Director for CEBC
University of Kansas
(785) 864-1647

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