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UTeach Student Wins Top Research Award

Future Teacher Builds Entrepreneurship Curriculum for M2D2 Project

John Romano at UTeach conference
John Romano, right, at the UTeach Conference in Austin explains how he taught entrepreneurship to high school students.

By Karen Angelo

Teaching entrepreneurship to high school students was exciting enough for math major John Romano. He taught a class of five Lowell High School students how to research, develop, build and market a medical device. The icing on the cake, though, was when he won the top research award for his efforts at a national conference.

“I was overcome with pride for how hard my students worked over the school year to give me plenty of amazing facts and figures to present to the judges,” says Romano, who is enrolled in the university’s UTeach program that prepares students to become teachers while earning degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Judges at the 8th Annual UTeach Conference in Austin named Romano the winner for his poster presentation “M2D2, UTeach, Lowell High School Experience.”

“The judges were compelled by the idea, organization and execution of the project,” says Julia Lee, instructional support coordinator at UTeach Institute. “John gave clear, concise and expert verbal explanations of his project. Plus, the project was just awesome. The students created something useful.”

The students built a prototype of a smartphone case that could house bio-metric sensors, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. The project team found that physicians and EMTs need access to data from medical devices in one central place.

At the conference, Romano shared how he and classmate Kreg Kaminski led the high school students through the process of researching the medical device marketplace, finding a need and developing a prototype – all while developing a curriculum for the class. The UTeach internship was a collaboration with the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) and Lowell High School.

“The students came up with their very own medical device, built a CAD software model of it, researched the patent process, learned about FDA regulations and came up with a business model for the idea,” says Romano.

Although Romano will not graduate until 2016, he feels confident that he will be a good high school math teacher because of his hands-on UTeach program experience.

“The UTeach program is absolutely amazing and the reason I came to UMass Lowell,” he says. “This program allows future teachers to get hands-on practice in the classroom right away and provides a lot of internship opportunities.”