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Evolution of Activities in a Smart Grid Summer Camp for High School STEM Students (Evaluation)

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Energy & Technology in Pre-College Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

16

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32771

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32771

Download Count

162

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Paper Authors

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Daniel Jonathon Douglas Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Daniel Douglas is a graduate student of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is interested in research opportunities involving machine learning, power systems, and software applications. His long term goal is a career in power and energy systems engineering.

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Ian Scott Steenstra Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2514-3302

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Joe H. Chow Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Joe Chow obtained his MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He worked in the General Electric power system business before joining Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1987, where he is Institute Professor, Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering. He is currently the campus director of the NSF/DOE Engineering Research Center on Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT). His research interests include modeling and control of power systems and synchrophasor data analysis. He is a life fellow of IEEE and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering. He is a recipient of the Donald Eckman award from the American Automatic Control Council, the Control Systems Technology Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society, and the Charles Concordia Power System Engineering Award from the IEEE Power and Energy Society.

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Chien-fei Chen University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Chien-fei Chen received the B.S. degree in English Language and Literature from National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, in 1992, and the M.S. in Communication, and Ph.D. in Sociology degrees from Washington State University in 1995 and 2009, respectively. Her current research interests include public acceptance of smart grid, renewable energy and energy conservation, and engineering education (K-12 and university). She is a research professor and co-director of education and diversity program at NSF-DOE engineering research center, CURENT and an adjunct faculty in the Department of Sociology at UTK. Prior to her academic career, she worked in the media industry including KSPS -Spokane Public Station, KCTS-Seattle Public Television, Seattle Chinese Television Station, Public Television Service, Taipei, Vision Communication Public Relation Company, Taipei. She was also a research scientist at Virginia Tech and lab manager at Washington State University.

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Meng Wang Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Jeffrey Braunstein

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Elizabeth S. Herkenham Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Ms. Herkenham is the Education Outreach Director of the School of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her responsibilities include managing the pre-college educational programs. This includes the Smart Grid summer enrichment program for the NSF and DOE- funded Center for Ultra-Wide-Area Resilient Electric Energy Transmission Networks (CURENT) Engineering Research Center. She also manages faculty-driven broader impact initiatives with her connections with the K-12 educational system. Under Herkenham's leadership, the RPI Engineering Ambassadors undergraduate program was established in Spring 2011 and has grown. This unique program has been an effective approach for sharing how engineers better our world by disseminating cutting edge research concepts into today’s 4- 12 grade classrooms.

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Anne L. Skutnik University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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Abstract

Members in the Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering Department in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a variety of energy related modules for a one-week summer camp for rising 10th, 11th, and 12th graders interested in a STEM career. This paper describes the rationales for the development of several activities requiring only a modest budget, which can be adopted by other educators interested in similar high school outreach activities. The main challenge in this effort is that highly technical materials must be simplified to be suitable for high school students. Throughout the first three years, the summer camp consisted of primarily lecture-type discussions. The topics discussed included energy systems, power conversion, electricity markets, power electronics, wind turbines, and communication systems. There were also hands-on activities, including electrical circuit design, wind turbine blade design, a wind farm investment game and a power grid board game. In recent years, a “solar build” project was designed and used as tangible instruction during the summer camp. The students were required to build an electronic circuit which uses an Arduino microcontroller to measure the current generated by a solar cell panel and send this data via Bluetooth™ to a laptop. The project activities allowed the students the opportunity to learn more about circuits, gain programming skill in Python, and understand fundamental energy concepts. Students reported statistically significant (p<0.05) changes in familiarity with electrical engineering concepts from before to after the summer program. This was especially noticeable regarding electrical engineering concepts such as the power grid, smart grids, and wind energy. These results indicate to us that the educational components of the camp are effectively conveying these concepts. Further discussion, as well as comparative data with past years and previous curriculi, will be discussed in the full paper. Another highlight of the summer camp has been the technical tours. Over the years, the campers have visited a flywheel energy storage facility, GE Global Research Laboratory, GE wind turbine facility, and a pumped hydraulic generating plant. Most recently, the technical visit was to the new Control Center of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The summer camp accommodates about 20-24 students each year. Activities developed in the summer camp can also be used to support other K-12 education outreach activities in the School of Engineering at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. The wind farm investment game has been used by the RPI undergraduate Engineering Ambassadors for on-site enrichment at local high schools—as it can be completed within a single class period. We are continuing to find solutions to make the program available to more high schools that are underserved in science and technology subjects. Since the first summer camp, the faculty at the University of Tennessee Knoxville has performed before- and after- the course assessments of the campers. A background survey on the campers was performed before the start of the activities. At the conclusion of the camp, a second survey asked the students to rate their interests in STEM. The increase in STEM interest has been significant in the last two years

Douglas, D. J., & Steenstra, I. S., & Chow, J. H., & Chen, C., & Wang, M., & Braunstein, J., & Herkenham, E. S., & Skutnik, A. L. (2019, June), Evolution of Activities in a Smart Grid Summer Camp for High School STEM Students (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32771

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