The Governor’s Science – And Life – Lessons

people amazed by science

Six Forsyth Tech nanotechnology and biotechnology students had their day in the spotlight Tuesday, September 29, when Governor Pat McCrory and members of the State Board of Education visited Forsyth Tech’s Science Lab at Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem.

The board members, in town for the biannual State Board of Education’s Fall Planning and Work Session, joined the governor to observe three presentations of devices Forsyth Tech students created as part of their curriculum.

Nanotech students first presented a prototype of a transparent, plastic solar cell that, when placed on a windowpane, creates power. “You can put it on your window and it gives power to your home,” says Dr. Mehrdad Tajkarimi, Nanotechnology instructor. The nanotech students also presented a second prototype – a graphene-based supercapacitor that saves energy to environmentally friendly batteries.

Biotechnology students presented the third project – a nanosensor that detects a strain of E. coli that can lead to death. “The main problem with E. coli outbreaks is that it takes 48 hours to detect and confirm the presence of the bacteria. The students devised a very small chip that detects E. coli in a couple of hours,” explains Mehrdad.

The governor spoke informally to the students, asking them what he and education officials could do to get more young people interested in the sciences. “You need to tell us what resources we need to make this happen,” he stressed. Several students urged the governor and board members to promote project-based learning – a method that gives students the opportunity to learn by doing what makes science exciting.