Research Experience for Teachers

Engineering, technology, science and math teachers, join us for a paid summer research program aimed at stimulating students’ interest in STEM!

This RET program at Purdue University Northwest consists of a six-week summer research program focusing on using simulation and visualization technologies in “smart” manufacturing to increase energy efficiency, optimize production, predict mechanical failures, and improve safety and product quality.

The goal is to enhance STEM education and stimulate secondary school and community college students’ STEM interest through partnership with participant teachers, university mentors and industry engineers using simulation and visualization technologies for innovative industrial solutions and model-based manufacturing.

Read the Announcement

Program Details

June 12 to July 21, 2023

  • Hybrid Learning Experience at Purdue University Northwest (Hammond Campus)
  • Paid Stipend! Participants receive a $6,500 stipend for completing the six-week summer research program.

Information Session

  • Monday, February 13, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. CST
  • The following is a recording of our information session:


The application deadline is Friday, March 10th. The application should include:

  1. a resume showing the courses the applicant teaches
  2. a personal statement/essay (up to two pages) that includes the following:
    • Describe your teaching philosophy
    • Which of the research projects are you interested in and how do you plan to apply the research experience in your classroom (see Research Projects descriptions below)

Send both required documents to to apply.

Engineering, technology, science, and math teachers from secondary education or community colleges are eligible to apply. Potential candidates can be teachers who have teaching experience in one or more of the following or related courses:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Chemistry I & II
  • Civil Engineering & Architecture
  • Computer in Design & Production
  • Construction Systems
  • Design (Electronics)
  • Design Fundamentals
  • Design Technology
  • Engineering Design & Development
  • Integrated Chemistry/Physics
  • Introduction to Design
  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Introduction to Manufacturing
  • Physical Science
  • Physics I & II
  • Principles in Engineering
  • Project Lead the Way
  • Advanced Math courses
  • Programming courses
  • Biology
  • Anatomy/Physiology
  • Participants are expected to dedicate 40 hours per week to working with faculty mentors, graduate students and industry engineers in one of the projects described in the next section.
  • Participants are expected to write a research report and develop a lesson plan at the end of the program related to your research experience.
  • Participants are expected to participate in follow-up academic year activities after the six-week summer program (implement the lesson plan that you created).

Research Projects

Project Description/Objective: Investigate the Impact of Using Hydrogen Instead of Natural Gas in Power Plants

The research project is investigating the use of hydrogen instead of natural gas in power plants to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. However, there are many things to consider before making the switch, such as how the fuel burns and the amount of pollution it produces. The project will involve computer simulation, calculation, and chemical processes.

This research builds on a study that looked at how adding hydrogen to the fuel mix would affect a specific type of power plant, the GE Power 7F04 gas turbine combustor. The researchers used calculations and computer simulations to see how the change in fuel would impact the performance and emissions of the power plant.

Project Description/Objective: Investigate Decarbonization of Flue Gas in Steel Mill Reheat Furnaces by Replacing Natural Gas with Hydrogen

This research project is investigating the impacts of using Hydrogen instead of Natural Gas on the amount of carbon in reheat furnace flue gas. Reheat furnaces are commonly used in the steel industry to heat large slabs of steel before they are rolled into thin steel before it is coiled and shipped to manufacturers and made into steel products. The project will involve computer simulation, calculation, and chemical processes.

This research builds on previous research developing a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model for the slab reheat furnace to examine furnace operations. The model will be able to predict the heating process in the slab and give details about the temperature distribution in a three dimensional space with the objective of optimizing the design to make it cost-effective.

Project Description/Objective: Investigate the Effects of Thermal Stress in Steel Products

This research is investigating the effects of thermal stress due to extreme heating during the steel producing process in the steel industry. The project will involve computer simulation, calculation, and engineering.

This research builds on previous research developing FEA simulations for steel mills producing large scale intermediate steel products under extreme heating conditions.

Project Description/Objective: Investigate the Use of Interactive Virtual Training Software on Safety and Hygiene in the Steel Industry

This research is investigating the different ways in which interactive virtual software can be used to improve safety and hygiene in the steel industry. A variety of safety and hygiene topics will be explored using software developed using the Unity Game Engine. This research will involve identifying a specific safety or health concern in the steel industry, designing a training software to address the concern, and working with grad students to develop into a functional piece of software that runs on either PC computer or Virtual Reality headset.

This research builds on multiple projects which have developed a suite of safety training tools used by still mills across the country.

Variations of this research topic may be proposed by teachers to focus on other applications of interactive training in the steel industry, or research involving computer vision. (Note, any computer vision research will involve programming and should only be proposed by teachers with previous coding experience).

Contact Us

Chenn Zhou

Chenn Zhou, Ph.D.

NIPSCO Distinguished Professor of Engineering Simulation | Director, the Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS)

(219) 989-2665

Hammond Campus, PWRS 121
(219) 989-2765
Hammond Campus, PWRS 121