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  • Created 08 Jul 2013

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Purdue University is the founding site and headquarters of the EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) program. The motivation behind the EPICS High school program is to enable high school students to connect engineering and computing design with people and local community needs.

The overarching goals for EPICS High include:

  1. To create and disseminate sustainable EPICS High models through: teacher development, materials and resources, and teacher support.
  2. To create and distribute a curriculum to teach design at the high school and middle school level through service-learning.
  3. To increase students’ awareness of and interest in engineering and computing fields and service-learning opportunities in STEM fields through the EPICS High model.
  4. To implement an assessment and research plan to measure the impact of EPICS High on students, teachers and communities.
  5. To develop sustainable sources of funding to administer and grow the EPICS High program.
  6. To build a solid network of partnerships for EPICS High, including high schools, middle schools, universities/colleges, non-profits, industry, foundations and professional societies.

This group contains the following:

EPICS High Nano Schools

Three schools have already begun implementing nanotechnology into their EPICS Projects. These schools and their projects are highlighted in the following profiles.

Xavier College Preparatory, Phoenix, AZ

IMG_0017.JPG An exceptional example of EPICS High at work is Xavier College Prep (XCP) in Phoenix, Arizona. In the fall of 2013 XCP began their fourth year using the EPICS model. What sets XCP apart, aside from outstanding academics, is that it is an all girl’s high school. The EPICS model immediately caught on at the school, merging student interest in service learning and outstanding academics with themes the Catholic school found integrated well with Catholic themes of social service. There are currently over 150 students involved in various EPICS high projects, and nearly 500 students have participated in EPICS High since the program began in 2010. Xavier has taken on the challenge of implementing nanotechnology in a unique, educational format. The girls participating in the EPICS High nano project are creating educational activities to present to the middle school students who attend the annual Xavier “Girls Have IT” day to be held March 28, 2014. Activities include discovery of size and scale as it pertains to nanotechnology and its use in the world around us.

Agawam High School, Feeding Hills, MA

Agawam_EPICS_015.JPG Agawam High School is a charter member of the EPICS High program. Located in rural Massachusetts, Agawam has a student population of approximately 1300. The EPICS program is a curricular part of the Grade 10 College Prep Biology course. The students enrolled in this course are integrating nanotechnology into the class particularly in regard to environmental science. EPICS projects include those studying climate changes and the effect of ecosystem collapse on coral reefs.

North Penn High School, Philadelphia, PA

North Penn High School has implemented nanotechnology into EPICS in a novel way, especially compared to other EPICS High Schools. Already existing in the school is a Nanotechnology Research course with a focus on the functionalization of polymer nanofibers for various applications in energy, healthcare and the environment. Heathcare and environmental applications include antibacterial fabrics, concussion detection and prevention and water and air filtration. Turning this research course into service-learning human-centered design projects takes the research to the next level where students are now trying to create the solutions to these problems. More information about student research and projects can be found at Additionally, a video of one the projects can be found at

Teacher Training 2014

P2020004.JPG Interested in finding out more about EPICS High? Consider coming to our teacher training July 8-11, 2014. Training will take place on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. For more information visit:, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.