The Center for Sustainable Materials Science, (CSMS), research team will be involved in activities to support the goals of the North Dakota EPSCoR award’s EMPOWERED-ND initiative, which stands for Emerging Programs for Workforce Development, Outreach, Education and Diversity-North Dakota, a tightly integrated workforce development, education and outreach and partnership program designed to ensure a continual pipeline of highly qualified individuals to meet the future needs of the North Dakota economy.

Some of the goals identified for this EMPOWERED-ND initiative, that fall under three Project Element areas, that apply to CSMS are shown below.

Co-Leads: Chad Ulven/NDSU and Scott Hanson/ND EPSCoR

  • Build on the success of our K-12 NATURE programs by including more CSMS-related themes into NATURE University Summer Camp and Sunday Academy programming
  • Help to identify American Indian students interested in pursuing and eventually obtaining PhDs in STEM programs and who are willing to maintain contact with a Tribal College faculty member or administrator
  • Increase the participation level of women faculty in CSMS
  • Increase the number of American Indian and women role models participating in CSMS-related themes during NATURE University Summer Camp and Sunday Academy programming.

Education and Workforce Development
Co-Leads: Rachel Navarro and Ryan Summers/UND

  • Increase K 12 student self-efficacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
  • Increase student interest in STEM.
  • Increase student intentions to pursue a STEM major and increase higher education retention in those fields.
  • Build capacity for interdisciplinary research state-wide and initiate collaboration with partner institutions (Tribal Colleges and Primarily Undergraduate Institutions) and sustain these research collaborations.
  • Engage undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researcher associates and CSMS research faculty in expanding research and provide educational and research opportunities to underrepresented groups and younger learners from other North Dakota institutions.  See the CSMS Outreach page for listings by award year of Outreach carried out by CSMS students and postdoctoral researchers.

Partnership, Collaboration and Communication Objectives
PCC Co-Leads: Mukund Sibi/NDSU; Tara Kopplin/UND
Communication Co-Leads: Zoltan Majdik/NDSU; Brad Rundquist/UND

  • Develop partnerships to advance the CSMS science and engineering infrastructure and translational research opportunities; specifically academic and industrial collaborations.
  • Establish and maintain partnerships with DoE and USDA national labs, provide for student internship at DoE and/or USDA labs.
  • Collaborate with North Dakota and regional industry (Minnesota, Montana and South Dakota) to identify and support summer internships.
  • Work on projects with the Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS), another center funded by this North Dakota EPSCoR award. The website for CRCS is
  • Commmunicate on scientific accomplishments and activities to enhance awareness of ongoing CSMS achievements and results (ex: educational webinets, blog posts, and news items on the CSMS website