June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Pre-College Engineering Education Division
A university precollege program was revised for the summer of 2016 to not only teaching about renewable energy technologies and the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but also the electric grid and how a center is addressing the challenges of modernizing the grid through research. High school students apply to a summer program and are selected to participate in the four-week program. The program involves engineering educators and engineering graduate students providing content and hands-on activities, industry tours to learn more about different environments that are involved in the electric grid, renewable energy technologies, and engineering, weekly webinars, social activities to promote collaboration and inclusion, and interaction with both undergraduate and graduate students. The goal of the program is to promote higher level thinking skills, problem solving, innovation, and learning the engineering design process. Multiple speakers present on topics such as microgrids, solar farms, electric vehicles, and battery storage. Students work with Arduinos, 1/10 scale model electric vehicles and designing a solar charging station to charge the vehicle, battery technologies, wind turbines, calculate energy consumption, and learn coding, and programming. During the program, students select a research project in which they work on developing a demonstration project. In addition to the project, students learn how to create a research poster and deliver a perfect pitch. At the conclusion of the program, students participate in a symposium event demonstrating their research projects to faculty, students, staff, parents, and teachers. Students worked on projects that included smart use of smart meters, autonomous problem solving and adaptability to quickly and efficiency maintain power distribution, and batteries to power the future-wet versus dry batteries. A comparison of pre and post program survey results for the pre college program indicated that students had a better understanding of engineering and energy related topics.
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