Research Experiences for Teachers (RET)

Science and Mechatronics Aided Research for Teachers with an Entrepreneurship expeRience (SMARTeR) at New York University Tandon School of Engineering is a professional development opportunity for NYC Middle School and High School teachers. Funded by the National Science Foundation, under its Research Experience for Teachers Site program, SMARTeR helps teachers provide their students enhanced STEM educational content through mechatronics research and entrepreneurship training.


  • developing and refining curricula that promote project-based, hands-on, instruction to help students learn, understand, and apply underlying science and math content through robotics activities.
  • fostering teachers’ skills and attitudes for integrating mechatronics-based learning in required science and math classes.
  • enabling teachers to use their students’ interest in technology to help them learn required science and math content.
  • using mechatronics and entrepreneurship as a means to expose teachers to tools, techniques, and models of authentic engineering design.
  • Introducing K-12 teachers and their students to the processes of entrepreneurship including business planning, social entrepreneurship, new product development, intellectual property, and raising funding


  • Discover the science and math inherent in mechatronics activities
  • Understand how to address the engineering design content of the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Integrate real-world, hands-on, learning activities aligned with STEM standards into curriculum
  • Be able to provide their students with a solid foundation for future college-level study in STEM disciplines
  • Mentor students to participate in entrepreneurship competitions, and develop laboratory activities in their schools using an equipment kit (microcontroller and components) provided by SMARTeR
  • Form a professional learning community for ongoing support
  • Have personal experience, after shadowing industry professionals, to increase student STEM career-awareness


  • Mechatronics will convey new & accessible representations of STEM content
  • Support for active, collaborative learning for standards-aligned physical science and math courses.
  • Teachers will receive a mechatronics/robotics kit for use during summer that they can take back to school. Schools must invest in additional equipment for classroom use.
  • Teachers who have shadowed industry professionals will give students concrete examples of STEM careers, increasing STEM learning engagement
  • Teachers can leverage technology entrepreneurship lessons to promote STEM learning motivation and engagement.


  • Teachers must me math or science certified.
  • Regular teaching appointment at a middle or high school school located in a New York City borough.
  • Three years of full-time teaching experience in science, math, or pre-engineering disciplines.
  • Endorsement by the school principal

DURATION: Six weeks: July 10 to August 18, 2017.

  • Schedule: Monday to Friday, 8:30 A.M.—5:00 P.M.,
  • Where: NYU Tandon School of Engineering, 6 MetroTech, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • During the academic year: follow-up with industry mentors, one meeting all teachers as a professional learning community and one or more classroom visits by an NYU graduate student researcher or faculty, help students participate in an annual Inno/Vention competition.

STIPEND: Project participants who successfully complete all requirements will receive a stipend of $7,500. Income tax obligations are the responsibility of the teachers.

RESPONSIBILITIES: To receive a full stipend, participants are required to:

  • Attend all training, research, and presentation activities
  • Complete assigned engineering research, oral presentation, research report and project web page
  • Participate in academic year follow-up activities
  • Mentor students to participate in an Inno/Vention student idea competition
  • Conduct classroom impact assessment and provide the results for reporting to NSF

APPLICATION: The application is LIVE.

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