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Research Experience for Teachers


CURENT will not be holding our RET program in Summer 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Betsy Hondorf, AP Physics teacher at Oak Ridge High School, presents her research on wireless charging.


Program Background

The Center sponsors a summer program for teachers interested in developing curriculum related to electricity and  power. The experience can be used to improve both their own content knowledge and their classroom activities. We offer a three-week summer Research Experience for Teachers (RET).  Seminars and training will  focus on electric power and energy systems for middle and high school teachers. 


The RET program aims to support teachers each summer.

Teachers have the opportunity to work with CURENT's faculty and graduate students in our world-class facilities. The program includes both a content-knowledge component and a curriculum development aspect so that teachers will have ideas to take back to the classroom.

A note for all teachers:  We recognize that the timing of our program may interfere with AP teachers also involved in AP test grading, as well as other professional development training required by your school or district.  We will work with all teachers to accommodate your professional schedules.  Just contact education@curent.utk.edu for more information.


  • The participants in the program will be expected to dedicate approximately 35-40 hours per week during the summer experience. 
  • Each teacher will also be expected to create a poster towards the end of the term that displays his or her research. The poster will be presented to CURENT researchers.
  • Each teacher is expected to create a proposal prior to the  program explaining how they could incorporate electricity, energy, or engineering concepts into their classroom.
  • Each teacher is expected to create 2+ lessons plans from their proposal ideas and submit them to CURENT before the end of the program.  Lesson plans will include pre/post assessments that are aligned with state and NGSS curriculum standards. 


  • For their efforts developing curriculum, teachers will receive payment for their work ($2500 stipend)
  • Parking passes for lots near the building will be provided.
  • CURENT will provide all the materials teachers need at the center.

Research Areas

RET participants will be exposed to a variety of power systems and power electronics topics throughout the summer. Initially, participants will receive training to enhance their knowledge of electricity basics.  This training will encourage an understanding of voltage, current, power, renewable energy, and the operation of the electric grid. Field trips will be used during the term to show applications and research related to these topics.  During the mid-to-late stages of the program, teachers will be supported by CURENT staff and students to develop connections between what has been learned and their K-12 academic standards.  The goal of the program is to develop new materials that can support the teacher in their classroom.

Teachers will have access to CURENT experts in following areas:

  • Power Systems
  • Power Electronics
  • Data Visualization
  • Cyber Security
  • Smart Grid/Smart Home Technology
  • Power Markets
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Energy Harvesting
  • Biomedical Devices
  • Emerging Materials
  • Social-Behavioral Issues of Energy

Commitment to Diversity

The Center is committed to promoting diversity within science and engineering. We especially encourage teachers who are women and/or from underrepresented groups (African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander) and teachers with disabilities to apply to our Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program.

To learn about past RET projects, view the CURENT Education website.

CURENT Education websitehttp://education.curent.utk.edu/teachers/ret-projects/