Center for Composite Materials - University of Delaware

NASA ULI – Education, Outreach and Diversity

Home Education & Outreach Reports & Publications News Videos Internships Presentation Requests


NASA ImaginAviation: February 28, 2024

We were thrilled to host ImaginAviation Watch Party, hosted by the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI).

Since its inception, ImaginAviation has been at the forefront of fostering innovation, collaboration, and cutting-edge advancements in aviation. This years theme was “Welcoming Our Newest Thought Leaders”. This was UD-CCM second year hosting a watch party and increased expose with STEM Outreach Activities, tour of our facilities, and information on our NASA University Leadership Initiative (ULI) research which is focusing on Composite Manufacturing Technologies for Aerospace Performance at Automotive Production Rates.

Thank you to The College School 7tha and 8th graders and First State Military Academy freshman science class for sharing the day with the CCM Researcher and Students.

UD-CCM Education/Workforce Training and Outreach Activities
During the past year, we have been very active in education/workforce training and outreach to involve students including underrepresented minorities in composites activities at University of Delaware and Southern University. More than 2,500 students (60% were URM from grades K-12) were involved and more than 450 people registered for presentations and seminars co-sponsored by our University Leadership Initiative (ULI). In addition, more than 3,000 people in total registered for the 2023 NASA ImaginAviation Annual Conference and NASA Tech Talk Seminar series that highlighted our University Leadership Initiative (ULI) students and technical activities.

With respect to Diversity, our ULI funded 14 PI/Co-PI’s (14% Underrepresented Minorities (URM)) and 18 students/post-doctoral researchers. An additional 61 students (unfunded) benefited from ULI activities. Within this student group, 21% were URM and 17% female.

  • Recruitment of University of Delaware students for NASA Fellowships through our College of Engineering and UD’s university wide Honors program.
  • University Leadership Initiative co-sponsored CCM CONNECTS: The Future Is Composites | Research Series, consisting of 9 research reviews (32 talks in total) beginning in April and continuing monthly. The reviews typically included 3-4 talks and were attended by 30-50 people from the university and industry. Posted on website
  • In 2022, University Leadership Initiative co-sponsored Mr. Chris Pederson, President of Specialty Engineered Materials, Avient Corporation to present a talk on keys to a successful career in the composites industry at our annual Student Achievement Day on May 6th, 2022, to students, staff, faculty, and external participants entitled. The talk was well attended (more than 60 participants) and provided valuable advice on professional development and career advancement.
  • University Leadership Initiative co-sponsored our Summer Research Symposium on August 11th, 2023, with over fifty (50) attendees. The symposium included 28 students (short presentations and poster sessions) from UD-CCM including three (3) from Newark Charter High School.

  • University Leadership Initiative sponsored two Senior Design projects in UD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Fall of 2021 to design and fabricate blank holder for forming TuFF composites and design and fabrication of high throughput spill ways for fiber alignment. Each project involved four (4) seniors advised by ULI co-PIs.
  • University Leadership Initiative sponsored the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation – UD Summer Camp 2023 Destination Moon – Space Beam Challenge on July 11-12th.Thirty-two (32) students entering 7th, 8th and 9th grade attended UD Destination Moon summer camp. The camp integrates real world experiences with Lunar Studies, lessons in Development, Advanced Rocketry, Remote Sensing, Robotics, Computer Sim, Composite Materials & Telescope Building along with Field Trips.

Southern University Education/Workforce Training and Outreach Activities

In year-three of the TuFF University Leadership Initiative project, Southern University engaged in several education/workforce trainings and outreach initiatives by leveraging Southern Universities CREST Center for Multifunctional Composites education and outreach program activities for underrepresented minorities.

  • Westdale Middle School: Seventy-Five (75) students in grades 7th-8th participated.
  • Woodlawn Middle School: Sixty-Six (66) students in grades 7th-8th participated.
  • Istrouma Middle School: (44) students in grades 7th-8th participated
  • Scotlandville Middle Pre Engineering Academy: Thirty-seven (37) students in grades 7th-8th participated.
  • East Baton Rough – 7th Grade Day: Seven Hundred and Eighty (780) students in grade 7th participated.
  • Sothern University students supported with TuFF University Leadership Initiative funds participated in CREST Center sponsored research education for undergraduate (REU) during fall 2022, spring 2023 semester and in person summer REU programs. Activities included:

    1. REU projects with graduate student and professors as mentors
    2. Weekly virtual and in person professional development seminars with invited guest presenters
    3. Tours and training in Southern University and Louisiana State University (LSU) laboratories
    4. Poster symposium where student presented research undertaken at the end of fall, spring semester and summer REU programs.
    5. One Southern University graduate student visited University of Delaware CCM to engage in training and conducted experiments using CCM thermal/chemical/rheology and mechanical testing equipment as well as our interphase specimen preparation and fiber pull-out testing facilities on vitrimer polymer. The SU student worked closely with CCM staff, students, and technicians during the 2-month internship.
  • University (LSU) laboratories, iv) With travel support from TuFF ULI six undergraduate (3) and graduate (3) students attended and participated in the National Science Foundation Emerging Researchers National Conference (ERN) in Washington DC, February 2023. The students participated in poster and oral presentations competitions. Figure 2 shows SU ERN delegation. Tuff ULI funding was also used to support SU REU and graduate students to attend 2023 Diversity
    in STEM Conference this summer organized by NSF funded LS PACS Models in New Orleans, LA in July 2023. Students and faculty in attendance are shown below.

Diversity Data September 2022 – August 2023

  • Total Number of PI/Co-I’s: 14 Male: 14 (100%), Female: 0 (0%), URM: 2 (14%)
  • Total Number of Universities: 2
  • Total Number of Industry Partners: 3
  • Total Number of Students: 81 – Male: 67 (83%), Female: 14 (17%), ULI Funded: 18, ULI Unfunded: 61, Graduate: 21, Undergraduate: 58, URM: 13 (21%), Postdocs: 2
  • Other Support Staff: 14- Male: 7 (50%), Female: 7 (50%)

302-831-8149 •