Moving Forward from a Pandemic: How the Field of Materials Science Has Adapted (2022 Student-led Symposium): Education and User Facilities - Supporting Students and Users During the Pandemic
Program Organizers: Gianmarco Sahragard-Monfared, University of California, Davis; Christine Smudde; Jared Stimac; Mingwei Zhang, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Monday 2:00 PM
February 28, 2022
Room: 202A
Location: Anaheim Convention Center

Session Chair: Mingwei Zhang, University of California, Davis; Jared Stimac, University of California, Davis


2:00 PM  
Survey Results from the TMS Education Committee: Changes in Education due to Covid-19: Alison Polasik1; Kester Clarke2; 1Campbell University; 2Colorado School of Mines
    The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in urgent and profound changes in how courses are taught at all levels and across disciplines. Materials Science and Engineering education in particular has some differences from other disciplines and even other science and engineering programs that might result in distinct needs. While many of the changes were prompted by requirements at the university and governmental level, the specifics were typically decided by individual instructors. The TMS Education Committee prepared a survey of instructors to better understand how these changes were addressed by at an individual level, and to further understand if any of these changes might be useful moving forward. The survey results include data and discussion on (1) classes taught and modality used, (2) various tools used to facilitate online instruction, and (3) free-form comments from individual faculty perspectives. Additionally, student perspectives on learning during Covid-19 will be included.

2:20 PM  
How CHESS Responded to the Corona Virus Pandemic: Joel Brock1; Matthew Miller1; 1Cornell University
     In March of 2020, Cornell University responded to New York State's mandate that all "non-essential" businesses close by sending students home, closing residence halls, offices, and research labs. Only essential personnel were allowed on campus. Within a few weeks, CHESS came back to life to support essential research into new drugs to treat covid-19 and for national security. Then, over the summer, CHESS reconfigured itself to enable access and control of its facilities by remote users. CHESS has been operating all of its x-ray beamlines for users since September of 2020 with only socially distanced, essential staff on the floor.We will review the adaptations CHESS made, their benefits and drawbacks and benefits to future operations in a post-Covid world.

2:40 PM  
Materials Science at the Molecular Foundry - Adaptation and Innovation during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Shannon Ciston1; 1Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    The Molecular Foundry is a Nanoscale Science Research Center located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. This knowledge-based User Facility hosts visiting scientists (“users”) to access leading-edge resources in instrumentation, analytical capabilities, and scientific expertise in nanoscale science. The COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges to conducting collaborative materials science research, but also catalyzed the development of new remote access modes. This talk focuses on strategies for maintaining research productivity and user access. Approaches include shift work to manage density, virtual meetings, targeted proposal calls, and a host of remote access tools including: training videos, holographic augmented reality, audio headsets, remote operation of select equipment, remote login for data processing, video conferencing during experiments, and telepresence robots. Since the local onset of the pandemic, we have hosted over 400 users from over 60 institutions at our research site, and facilitated the remote access of around 100 individuals as well.

3:00 PM  
Supporting Students in a Turbulent Time: Lessons Learned: Susan Gentry1; 1University of California, Davis
    The COVID-19 pandemic upended higher education, as some schools utilized primarily virtual instruction for more than an entire academic year. As an instructor, I adapted five courses for online teaching, each with unique challenges, such as intensive group projects or laboratory exercises. Throughout the year, I aimed to teach content knowledge to prepare students for the engineering workforce and provide a supportive and compassionate learning environment. This talk will reflect on the lessons learned as a result of the pandemic, emphasizing adapting these insights to in-person instruction. For instance, a flexible policy for late assignments can support students with personal or family emergencies during the term. Additionally, live presentations on Zoom can be easily video-recorded so that students can critique their own performance. Although the pandemic was challenging for both students and instructors, we consider how it spurred meaningful changes in teaching.

3:20 PM Break

3:35 PM  
Maintaining a Productive Electron Microscopy Facility in the Face of COVID-19: Nicholas Rudawski1; 1University of Florida
    The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a myriad of constraints and necessary safety protocols in virtually all elements of the global community. Those of us in the electron microscopy community were no exception to this as we were forced to develop new and innovative methods to allow our facilities to remain open and productive in the face of such challenges. Ultimately, we engineered solutions that ranged from simple and rather obvious to more involved and technologically advanced to allow new instrument users to continue to be trained and for us to continue providing effective service to our customers using our instruments. This presentation will discuss these challenges and solutions and how operation of our electron microscopy facility was fundamentally changed even after the constraints and safety protocols related to COVID-19 were relaxed and ultimately removed.

3:55 PM  
Engineering Education during and post Pandemic: Matthew Sherburne1; 1University of California, Berkeley
    In this talk the approaches that have been implemented in Materials Science and Engineering at University of California, Berkeley to make the education resilient and approachable will be discussed. The goal of all modifications and approaches applied are to ensure the high quality of education and ensure a productive and safe teaching environment. The MSE department has recently (pre pandemic) modified our curriculum, to provide more flexibility to our students. The College of Engineering at UC Berkeley has partnered with online content providers to develop high quality educational video content. The development of high-quality asynchronous content has offered several unexpected advantages in allowing the offering of more course content during the semester. In addition, it has allowed us to develop content that is of interest to both our matriculating students and industrial professionals.

4:15 PM  
Navigating and Adapting User Facilities through Challenging Times: Khalid Hattar1; 1Sandia National Laboratories
    The Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies and Nuclear Science User Facilities are programs focused on external visitors and utilize the unique capabilities present at Sandia National Laboratories’ Ion Beam Lab. Although Sandia and these programs never closed during the COVID pandemic, the resulting restrictions on travel and safety protocols had drastic impact on the operation of these user facilities. Realizing all situations have silver linings, our clever team utilized the pandemic period for instrument development, data analysis, and paper writing, which is not typically possible with regular user visits. In addition, this period resulted in the introduction and refinement of telecommuting experiments and virtual install that are expected in some form to remain post-pandemic. The ability to adapt and learn which is ingrained in multifaceted user facilities was paramount for the success we experienced during this challenging time. SNL is managed and operated by NTESS under DOE NNSA contract DE-NA0003525.