Discovery Park center, Duke Energy partner for STEM-driven Energy Academy program

November 28, 2012  

Purdue Energy Camp

Thirty students and teachers from high schools throughout Indiana attended the weeklong Purdue Energy Camp in June to conduct research, tour laboratories and participate in hands-on activities. Here, the group tours the university's Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories. (Purdue University file photo/Mark Simons)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University's Energy Center will collaborate with electric utility Duke Energy Corp. to expand the Energy Academy at Purdue next summer, making it available to more students and teachers throughout Indiana.

Registration is now open for middle school and high school teachers and students to participate in the June 16-22 academy, building on a successful inaugural event that drew 20 students and 16 teachers last summer. Application deadline for the 2013 event is Jan. 15.

"Over the next decades, increased global demand for energy will create a critical need for entrepreneurial problem solvers and intellectual leaders. Targeting middle and high school teachers and students, Purdue aims to inspire teachers to communicate the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and energy scholarship in their classrooms," said Purdue Energy Center director Maureen McCann, a professor of biological sciences.

"We also hope to inspire high school students to enter the STEM pipeline and consider energy-related fields in their educational and professional goals."

Maureen McCann

Maureen McCann
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Doug Esamann, president of Duke Energy Indiana, said, "As Indiana's leading electric supplier, Duke Energy strongly encourages initiatives to increase education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We are proud to partner with Purdue University as they build on the success of last year's Purdue Energy Camp."

Participation in the 2013 Energy Academy is provided free of charge to those students and teachers selected. Teachers also will receive a $400 stipend for participating. The Energy Academy is organized by Purdue's Energy Center, a center in Discovery Park focused on advancing research and learning in pursuit of alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.

Pankaj Sharma, Energy Center managing director, said teachers can develop energy curricula to enhance their classroom offerings. Grants also may be available to assist participating teachers in preparing a lesson plan on energy and STEM.

Interested students and teachers must fill out an application form, which includes a 300-word essay "Why would you like to be a part of the Energy Academy and what are your expectations?" To apply online, go to

The Energy Academy at Purdue is made possible through funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation and generous corporate sponsorships that allow participants to attend the academy free of charge.

Doug Esamann

Doug Esamann
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During the 2013 Energy Academy at Purdue, students and teachers will be assigned to teams for daily activities, using STEM principles to formulate energy-related projects and hands-on research activities. They also will tour facilities and laboratories on campus and in the region, and engage in a policy debate on energy issues.

On the program's final day, each team will present results of their energy project to a panel of judges composed of professors and industrial sponsors. In turn, the judges will award certificates based on the merits of each presentation.

"Several outcomes from the Purdue Energy Camp in 2012 indicate Indiana teachers and students are actively working to launch energy clubs at their middle and high schools, and several teachers plan to incorporate in their curriculums lesson plans focused on alternative energy solutions," Sharma said.

While at Purdue, all participants will stay in campus residence halls and eat at on-campus dining halls. During the noon and evening meals, guest speakers will address energy-related topics of current interest. Students and teachers also will dine with professors and industry and government representatives, who will have open discussions with participants about energy development issues and associated current events, Sharma said.

To request sponsorship information or more details about the academy, contact Jill Wable of the Purdue Energy Center, 765-494-1610,

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.

The initiative also includes the Center for the Environment, the Purdue Water Community, the Purdue Climate Change Research Center and the Purdue Center for Global Food Security.

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

Lew Middleton, 317-838-1505,

Sources: Maureen McCann, 765-494-1610,

Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452,

Purdue Energy Camp Video:

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