2024 RET Program

The CDCM Materials Research Science and Engineering Center is hosting a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program in 2024. Each summer, science teachers from local elementary schools will participate in a five-and-a-half-week program where they work alongside faculty and graduate students, participating in high-level research projects within the field of materials science. In addition to the research component, RET staff and faculty will guide teachers to develop and teach materials science-based lessons that connect current research to K-5 science and mathematics curricula in the classroom and promote materials science as an exciting career field that allows K-5 students to apply their math and science education to real-world problems.

The long-term goals of our RET program are to motivate and improve elementary school student-learning in engineering and establish a collaborative partnership between our selected schools and CDCM faculty through inquiry-based experiences in materials science.

Teachers will receive a $1,000 stipend per week for their participation plus an additional $1,500 with the creation, test, and implementation of the lesson in the classroom and up to $1,200 in supply allowance to purchase classroom supplies/equipment that supports their engineering-based lesson.

Program Objectives

  • To provide elementary school teachers with a background and first-hand experience in the design, methods, and analysis of research associated with materials science, physics, chemistry and engineering.
  • To reinforce the value of incorporating scientific inquiry in the context of their school STEM curricula.
  • To provide teachers with the tools, experiences, and ongoing relationships with career scientists and with fellow teachers that will enable them to share with their students the latest developments in STEM fields and inspire their students with a desire to learn more about science and engineering and their related career paths.

Major Activities


  • CDCM Staff and/or Evaluator will perform a classroom observation to establish a baseline for the teacher’s pedagogy, teaching style, and philosophy.
  • Teachers will meet with Faculty and Graduate Student mentors to review research projects and summer objectives.

Summer Session:

  • Teachers will begin the program with a three-day orientation covering theory and techniques associated with the research they will be conducting during the internship.
  • Teachers will be placed in research labs under the guidance of a faculty mentor where they will be expected to work on an independent research project for approximately 35 hours per week for six weeks following the training week.
  • Teachers will connect their experiences to current learning theory and will develop classroom materials based on the summer research experience that they can use in their classrooms.
  • Teachers will interact with each other through informal meetings at least once a week to allow dialogue between teachers, faculty, and staff with the goal of establishing collaborative and ongoing relationships.
  • Weekly educational seminars as well as research discussions will be built into the program schedule.

Post-Summer Activities:

  • Teachers will roll-out the RET curriculum they developed to their classes.
  • CDCM Staff and/or Evaluator will perform a classroom observation to identify any changes to the teacher’s pedagogy, teaching style, and philosophy as a result of program participation.
  • Students within the teacher’s classroom will be surveyed before and after the RET lesson to evaluate the impact of the new curriculum on student learning and attitudes about science and math.
  • Faculty and graduate student visits to teachers’ schools where they can co-lead an activity or give a presentation to the students to assist in the roll-out of the RET created materials.
  • Post-Summer Showcase where RETs gather to demonstrate their activities to other teachers, school administration, and the local K-12 community
  • Teachers will design and lead a professional development activity disseminating their learnings from the RET program to a broader community of educators.

Program Highlights

  • Stipend: $1,000 for the per week in the Summer
  • Additional $1,500 after the creation, test, and implementation of the engineering-based lesson in the classroom & submission to TeachEngineering.org
  • Optional participation for two summers
  • Classroom supplies allowance to incorporate science experience into classroom and curriculum: $1,200
  • Anticipated dates of program: June 10 - July 18

Application Eligibility 

In order to apply, you should:

Application Deadline

Application for the Summer 2024 RET program is now open. Applications submitted by February 19, 2024, at 11:59 PM will be considered.

If you have questions about the application process or the program, please email Risa Hartman or call at (512) 232-7568.

Contact Information


UT Main Campus: EER 3.804
UT Pickle Campus: MER 1.206Z


10100 Burnet Road
Building 160, 1.206Z
Austin, Texas 78758