Purdue, Duke Energy expand STEM-focused program for high school students, secondary school teachers

December 9, 2013  

students wind turbine

Students Rachael Green, from left, of Monrovia High School in Monrovia and Theresa Emeli of Pike High School in Indianapolis design their own version of a wind turbine blade during a 2013 Purdue Energy Academy activity in Discovery Park's Mann Hall. (Purdue University photo/Vince Walter)
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Registration under way for 2014 Duke Energy Academy at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Energy Center is expanding its annual, free summer program to more high school students and teachers with support from Indiana's largest electric supplier.

Newly named the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue, the Discovery Park program will grow to 84 participants next summer. Last year 33 students and 29 teachers immersed themselves for a week in hands-on activities, tours and field trips exploring energy-related issues and careers.

Registration is now open for the summer 2014 event, which runs from June 22-28. Interested students and teachers must fill out an application form. Participation will be free of charge for the 42 students and 42 teachers selected. Teachers also will receive a $400 stipend.

The deadline to register is Feb. 16. To apply online, go to http://www.purdue.edu/energyacademy.

"In just two years, we have demonstrated the impact the Energy Academy at Purdue is having in the classroom for students and teachers alike. So we are excited that the Duke Energy is helping us expand the program to reach more students and teachers across Indiana and rebrand this exciting summer experience as the Energy Academy at Purdue," said Purdue Energy Center director Maureen McCann, a professor of biological sciences.

June Energy Academy

Duke Energy Corp. Chairman Jim Rogers, far right, talks to Vivien Lie, a Purdue undergraduate student in biology, about her wind energy research project during the opening reception of the 2013 Energy Academy at Purdue last June. Purdue Energy Center managing director Pankaj Sharma listens on. (Purdue University file photo/Phillip Fiorini) 
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Focusing on the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and mathematics -Duke Energy Academy at Purdue will include hands-on activities, tours and exposure to state-of-the-art laboratories, entrepreneurship opportunities and careers in energy.

"You never know what will light that spark for a young middle school or high school student as they discover what their future might look like. The Duke Energy Academy at Purdue has the incredible potential to be that catalyst for defining those bright and enthusiastic individuals who will become leaders of our energy economy of the future," said Duke Energy Corp. Chairman Jim Rogers, whose keynote talk kicked off the 2013 academy.

Participating teachers will receive resources on energy and STEM education that they can incorporate into their school curriculums.

"As Indiana's leading electric supplier, Duke Energy is proud to bolster its partnership with Purdue to expand the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue and inspire even more students to consider one of the many fields relating to energy sciences and engineering in their educational and career goals," said Doug Esamann, president of Duke Energy Indiana. "We see this as the continuation of a strong and fruitful partnership with the Purdue Energy Center in Discovery Park and its commitment to growing interest in the STEM disciplines among students and teachers."

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

In addition to Duke Energy as the primary sponsor, past event supporters included Bowen Engineering, Center for Coal Technology Research, Purdue Energy Center, Faegre Baker Daniels, General Electric Co., Goldwind, Green Tech America, Ivy Tech Community College, Kidwind Project, Laboratory of Renewable Resource Engineering at Purdue, National Energy Education Development Project, Nokero International Ltd., Renewable Energy Extension at Purdue, Ray W. Herrick Laboratories, Shell Energy and Siemens Energy Inc.

During the summer event, students and teachers are assigned to teams for daily activities, using STEM principles to formulate energy-related projects and hands-on research activities, said event organizer Pankaj Sharma, managing director for the Purdue Energy Center. They will tour a nearby wind farm, a coal plant, nuclear reactor, and other research facilities and laboratories on campus. They also will engage in a policy debate on energy issues.

On the program's final day, each team will present results of their energy project to their parents and a panel of judges composed of professors and industrial sponsors, he said. Purdue Provost Tim Sands will award certificates to participants.

The students and teachers will stay in residence halls and eat at campus dining halls. During the noon and evening meals, guest speakers will address energy-related topics of current interest. They also will dine with professors and industry and government representatives, participating in open discussions about energy development issues and current events.

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, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Angeline Protogere, 317-838-1338, angeline.protogere@duke-energy.com

Sources: Maureen McCann, 765-494-1610, mmccann@purdue.edu

Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452, sharma@purdue.edu

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