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Article updated: 6/28/2013 9:52 PM

Oakton gets nanotechnology grant

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Oakton Community College has received a $250,000 grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trus to educate industrial employees about the college's nanotechnology program.

With grant funds, Oakton will host an introductory seminar three times in its nanotech lab at Skokie's Illinois Science + Technology Park during the 2013-2014 academic year.

"This is a great opportunity to showcase how nanotechnology can benefit local companies," explained Bob Sompolski, dean of mathematics and technologies. "There's no question that nanotechnology will touch almost every industry in the near future. Our goal is to be ready to fill the need for skilled workers in this emerging field."

Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Increasingly common in the computer, energy, biotech, and transportation fields, nanotechnology can improve just about any process, tool, or piece of equipment by reducing size and increasing efficiency and by vastly increasing the amount of information stored on computer chips and other storage devices. Oakton began offering nanotechnology classes in January 2013.

This past spring, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Oakton with a $374,279 grant to introduce community college and high school students throughout the state to nanotechnology and potential careers in this rising field.

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