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Development and Delivery of an Interactive Renewable Energy Program for Under-Represented Minority High School Students in Philadelphia

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Community-Engaged Engineering Education Challenges and Opportunities in Light of COVID-19 Paper Presentations 1

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Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Community Engagement Division, and Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education

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Pritpal Singh Villanova University

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Dr. Pritpal Singh is Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Villanova University. He received a BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham, UK in 1978, and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Sciences/Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1981 and 1984, respectively. Dr. Singh teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of semiconductor microelectronics, renewable energy systems and power electronics. He has been working on thin film solar cell research since 1979 including a Sabbatical Leave at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1993. He has also worked on several photovoltaic system projects

Dr. Singh has also worked on electric vehicle research, working on battery monitoring and management systems funded primarily by federal agencies (over $3.5 million of funding).

Dr. Singh has consulted for several companies including Ford Motor Company and Epuron, LLC. He has also served as a reviewer for the US Department of Energy and National Science Foundation. Dr Singh has over 150 conference and journal publications and holds seven issued US patents.

Dr. Singh’s recent work is focused on battery state-of-charge/state-of-health algorithm development, microgrid simulation and humanitarian projects in under-served communities in the areas of renewable energy, wireless connectivity and education.

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Development and delivery of an Interactive Renewable Energy program for Under-represented Minority High School Students in Philadelphia Pritpal Singh, Javier Urquizo, Viviana Villavicencio, and Stephen Jones College of Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085

Abstract: Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate among the largest 10 cities in the country. This offers challenges and opportunities to educate and excite residents in underserved communities about renewable energy’s potential to positively impact their communities. Reflective of the high poverty rate, Philadelphia residents are more likely than the average U.S. citizen to face energy insecurity, such as forgoing food, medicine, or other basic necessities to pay for energy bills. Low-income households also spend a significantly higher percentage of their income on utilities compared to high income households (7.2 percent compared to 2.3 percent). Engaging under-served communities will also increase access to energy justice. Underserved communities often lack the knowledge of how their choices impact energy use, options to increase their home’s sustainability, and alternatives to traditional energy sources. These barriers result in lower usage of renewable energy and interest in sustainability issues among underserved communities. Increased knowledge of renewables by these communities promises both significant financial benefits to consumers coupled with an opportunity to improve the region’s environment. Students and faculty at Villanova University have developed the Power Forward Program, a highly interactive program of activities and lectures to teach high school teachers and students about various aspects of renewable energy. The curriculum includes basic electric circuits, energy production, transmission and distribution, energy efficiency, household energy use and environmental impacts and economics of different types of energy. Some of the innovations in this program include the development of energy-related puzzles and games. In addition to the students in the program, family members were invited to participate in the activities so that it became more of a family affair than simply a student only program. Twelve students participated in the program that was remotely delivered over a period of two months. A pre-program survey of the participants was performed before the start of the program and a post-program survey was conducted at the conclusion of the program. Details of the program, the surveys and the measured learning outcomes will be presented in this paper along with plans for program expansion.


Renewable energy, STEM outreach, environmental science, energy efficiency

Singh, P. (2021, July), Development and Delivery of an Interactive Renewable Energy Program for Under-Represented Minority High School Students in Philadelphia Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36949

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