Registration for high school students, teachers underway for 2016 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue

November 23, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Duke Energy Academy at Purdue has opened registration for high school juniors or seniors and secondary teachers interested in participating in the fifth annual STEM-focused summer program next June.

The free weeklong course, organized by the Purdue Energy Center in Discovery Park for the 42 students and 42 teachers selected, is scheduled to take place June 19-25 at the Purdue campus.  Teachers will receive a $400 stipend for their involvement.

The deadline to register is Jan. 17 for students and teachers. Applications for the academy can be found at

Students who join this summer program will be introduced to science, technology, engineering and math - the STEM disciplines - through hands-on activities, as well as tours and field trips that will allow them to explore energy-related issues and careers. Teachers involved in the academy will receive resources on energy and STEM education that can be incorporated into their school curriculums.

Special activities also are being planned to celebrate the academy's fifth anniversary.

Pankaj Sharma

Pankaj Sharma 
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"We aim to inspire teachers to communicate the importance of this relatively new and highly interdisciplinary area of scholarship in their classrooms and to inspire students to consider one of the many fields related to energy sciences and engineering in their educational and career goals," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Purdue Energy Center.

"We also are excited to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the academy and what this partnership between Purdue and Duke Energy has meant for students and teachers looking to explore deeper the richness of the energy economy and the careers that exist in this field."

Thanks to a partnership with Duke Energy, Indiana's largest electric supplier, the academy has grown over the past five years. And the relationship between Duke and Purdue has continued to help expose more students and teachers to state-of-the-art research laboratories at Purdue, energy entrepreneurship opportunities and careers. See video at: 

In 2013, Harmony School in Bloomington, Indiana, began teaching an elective course on sustainable energy with curriculum materials developed in conjunction with the program. Taught by 2014 Duke Energy Academy participant Emily Sprowls, the physical science class for students is for grades 7-12 and has been offered since 2010 in collaboration with Duke Energy, Audubon, Toyota, Solar Systems of Indiana and Atomic Electric.

Melody Birmingham-Byrd

Melody Birmingham-Byrd 
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"As a Purdue alumna, I know how effective the university is at introducing students to science and technology careers," said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, president of Duke Energy Indiana. "We invested in the academy because it inspires as well as educates students in fields so important to our state's future."

During the academy, the students and teachers stay in residence halls and eat at campus dining facilities. During the noon and evening meals, guest speakers will address current energy- and sustainability-related topics. Participants also dine with Purdue professors, graduate students and industry and government representatives, engaging in open discussions about energy development issues and current events.

Past academy experiences have included tours of a coal plant, wind/solar farm, an automobile manufacturing plant and nuclear reactor. Also involved in the academy are team-based research projects; economic, environmental, social and policy challenges of energy; a look at the Internet of things; and hands-on demonstrations of everything from energy storage to electricity distribution.

Duke is the primary sponsor of the annual Duke Energy Academy at Purdue. Co-sponsors and supporters in the past have included Bowen Engineering, General Electric, Goldwind, Green Tech America, Kidwind Project, Horizon Educational, RPiWare Automated Intelligence, National Energy Education Development Project, Nokero, Siemens Energy, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Tipmont REMC and WindStream Technologies Inc.

The academy is organized by the Energy Center, a center in Purdue's Discovery Park focused on advancing energy sciences and engineering for sustainable energy solutions. The Energy Center is part of the university's Global Sustainability Institute, which was launched in Discovery Park to coordinate Purdue's research efforts in sustainability challenges such as climate change, energy, food security, the environment and water.  

Media Contacts: Phillip Fiorini, Purdue University, 765-496-3133,

Angeline Protogere, 317-838-1338, 

Source: Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452, 

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