Tufts professor launches program to mentor deaf students in state-of-the-art physics research

Tufts University Professor Peggy Cebe, an expert in the rapidly growing field of nanocomposite polymer physics, is mentoring four deaf students working this summer in her research laboratory. The students are adding tiny impurities to polymer materials to form plastics with greatly improved strength and durability.

The program is designed to increase the participation of deaf and hard of hearing students in science, technology and engineering. Cebe is mentoring students from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of Rochester Institute of Technology, and Gallaudet University.

"This is one of the most exciting areas of polymer science, and hands-on experience in a lab doing exciting work is key to a student's choice of careers in science," said Cebe, professor of physics at Tufts' School of Arts and Sciences. "There are few role models for the deaf and hard of hearing students. We hope the interns will ultimately become role models for others and spread the excitement of research to their peers at their home institutions."

According to NTID researchers, there are approximately 27,000 deaf or hard of hearing people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 24.

This project is funded by Cebe's three-year $132, 000 National Science Foundation grant from the Polymers Program of the Division of Materials Research to provide deaf and hard of hearing students with the opportunity to combine classroom learning with hands-on lab experience.

"I'm excited that Dr. Cebe has included in her program students who are in baccalaureate programs at RIT and supported through the National Technical Institute for the Deaf," said Sharon Rasmussen, interim chairperson of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. "I await their return so that they can share the thrill of this cutting-edge research with their peers."

During their four weeks at Tufts, the students are lea

Contact: Kerry Murphy
Tufts University

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