Neurodiversity Inspired Science & Engineering (NISE) Graduate Trainee Fellowship Program
Sponsored by a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) grant, the NISE program takes a novel approach to the training of engineers and scientists engaged in advancing the future of work at the human technology frontier (FW-HTF), which is one of NSF’s 10 Big Ideas. NISE engages students across STEM disciplines in the development, deployment, and commercialization of FW-HTF approaches and devices that support neurodiversity individuals and/or that are inspired by their abilities. The NISE program builds on the unique strengths of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering’s Frist Center for Autism & Innovation and the Vanderbilt Graduate School.
Eligible fields include but not limited to: School of Engineering (all graduate programs), College of Arts & Science (natural sciences graduate programs, including neuroscience and psychology), School of Medicine (basic sciences graduate programs), Graduate School (data science)
Other eligibility requirements: PhD and master’s students from relevant fields above
The NISE training elements include:
Trainees who complete all the mandatory components of the NISE program will receive a Graduate Certificate in NISE.
Team Research Projects (mandatory): trainees pursue interdisciplinary thesis projects, co-advised by faculty from two different disciplines selected from participating departments.
NISE seminar courses (mandatory):
- The Science of NISE – An overview of neurodiversity and generally autism specifically, for engineering and science students having no prior exposure.
- Applications of NISE – Real life applications of NISE are explored to inspire thesis projects and to gain appreciation for the connections across broad swath of STEM disciplines involved.
- Collaborative Approaches to NISE – In this project-based course, student pairs undertake FW-HTF design challenges directly connected to Frist Center for Autism & Innovation research; in parallel trainees are introduced to topics in robotics, psychometrics, apps development, data visualization, and others.
- Data Science: Opportunities for training in basic and some advanced data science concepts and approaches.
- Apps Development: Opportunities to be trained in using emerging standard tools for app development and then be introduced to design tools for creating visually effective apps.
Communication and Skills Workshop (mandatory) – training in oral & written communication skills. Trainees build skill and confidence in communication, enhancing clarity of their message, and forming connection with any audience.
Internships – offered usually in the summer in a range of different environments relevant to NISE research and development. The NRT program helps trainees to navigate challenges of managing an internship along with their research and academic obligations.
Other Elective Training Opportunities:
- Vanderbilt Autism and Neurodiversity Alliance (VANA), which serves as an informal, safe, and friendly venue for trainees, postdocs, students, faculty, staff and alumni who identify as neurodivergent
- Responsible Conduct of Research course
- Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management Certificate in Inclusive Leadership
- Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization – TechVenture Challenge
NISE Academic Coordinator
For more information, see this Vanderbilt News story.