2023 SRET

DESIGN MATTER(S): An Architecture and Nanoscale Chemistry Collaborative Pop-Up Museum 

Led by Christopher Bejger, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at UNC Charlotte, and Rachel Dickey, assistant professor of architecture at UNC Charlotte

2023 SRET Fellows

Krystal Dehaney, 8th Grade Science, Wilson STEM Academy

Lawna Gamble, K-5 Visual Art, Mountain Island Lake Academy

Tam Hawk, 6th Grade Social Studies, Albemarle Road Middle School

Evelyn Metcalf, 1st/2nd Grade Horizons, Parker Academic Center

Krystal and Evelyn worked in Dr. Bejger’s chemistry lab, and Lawna and Tam worked in Ms. Dickey’s fabrication studio and each lab created their own research poster. In addition, all six people came together to produce an interdisciplinary poster focused on the university student design competition (mentioned below) and elementary, middle, and high school applications to these university research projects. This centered around a Pop-Up Museum concept where the winning student project would be moved to various Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to illustrate the relationship between art and science. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation, as part of Dr. Bejger’s CAREER Award.

Chemistry Research Poster

Architecture Research Poster

Interdisciplinary Curricular Poster

Each Fellow (teacher) was part of a Chemistry or Architecture research team, with two teachers on each team. Each team created a research poster and together, all Fellows along with the two professors, Chrsitopher and Rachel, created a collaborative poster featuring curriculum for the pop-up museum.

  • Chemistry poster with Krystal Dehaney, Evelyn Metcalf, and Christopher Bejger.
  • Architecture poster with Lawna Gamble and Tam Hawk, and Rachel Dickey.
  • Collaborative Pop-Up Museum Curriculum poster with Krystal, Lawna, Tam, Evelyn, Christopher, Rachel, and Scott Gartlan.

This summer research experience for teachers (SRET) provides a method for exploring the scalability of principles that translate from the nanoscale of chemistry to the macro scale of architecture.  Participants will learn about commonalities between the two fields of study and will address the disciplinary gap by exploring overlapping innovative processes that pertain scale to the manipulation of matter. 

This SRET is part of an ongoing collaborative project between professors Rachel Dickey (Architecture) and Christopher Bejger (Chemistry). At the heart of the collaboration is the construction of a Pop Up Museum that will be fabricated in the spring/summer 2023 and travel to local K-12 (CMS) schools and community events. During phase one, teams of MS level Architecture students spent a one-semester studio course working with their peers in Chemistry  to design and fabricate full scale models of potential museums. The installations are based on the design, synthesis, and properties of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). You can view the entries for each project here. The winning museum concept was selected by a jury and is now being refined and constructed. We aim to transform the museum from a fixed institution into a transportable community-driven and event-driven organization, democratizing museum attendance by targeting demographic groups less likely to frequent them. The mobile museum will create an atmosphere to enliven urban gatherings and local school events alike.

We are seeking art teachers to team up with Professor Dickey to assist with fabrication and content programming for the museum. We also need Science teachers to work in the Chemistry laboratory with Professor Bejger synthesizing and characterizing new solid-state materials constructed from molecular building blocks; of which the museum concept is based upon. Science instructors will also help develop content and programming for the museum exhibits. The team of faculty, students, and teachers will meet regularly to further this STEAM collaboration.