Duke Energy Academy at Purdue offers high school students valuable experiential learning

June 4, 2015  

Caren Anders

Caren Anders 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Duke Energy Academy at Purdue is helping secure STEM educational opportunities for high school students with an eye toward their future.

Purdue will host the fourth annual Duke Energy Academy at Purdue on June 21-27, with 50 high school students and 36 teachers seeking to broaden their knowledge of energy sciences and engineering. Participants will enjoy a week of hands-on activities, from energy research projects and team learning to field trips to a solar farm and coal plant, and a tour of Purdue's own nuclear reactor.

"By 2030, the global demand for energy will have increased by 50 percent based on population estimates, creating a huge demand for more students entering the STEM disciplines to advance U.S. efforts for leading the world in the energy sector," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Purdue Energy Center. "The Duke Energy Academy at Purdue gives interested and talented students the opportunity to hone their skills and knowledge in these fields."

During the week, student teams will work on interdisciplinary energy-related research projects based on STEM disciplines as well as address the issues of sustainability challenges, environment, economics, business, policy and regulation. Teachers will develop STEM-based lesson plans for learning in their classrooms.

Speakers from Purdue, industry and government will address energy-related topics and engage students and teachers in discussions of energy development issues and current events, said Sharma, who has a courtesy appointment as an associate professor of technology leadership and innovation.

Purdue Vice Provost for Student Life Beth McCusky will welcome 2015 participants on June 22. Other opening day speakers are Rakesh Agrawal, Winthrop E. Stone Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue, and Brian Wolff, executive vice president of public policy and external affairs for the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, D.C.

Caren Anders, vice president for emerging technology and transmission affairs at Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina, will deliver a keynote, "Power Generation and the Electricity Grid," at 8:30 a.m. on June 24, in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

Dave Hopping, president of Siemens Building Technologies of Americas, will give a talk titled Future Buildings at 8:20 a.m. on June 23.

A certificate ceremony and closing celebration on June 27, will feature Daniel Hirleman, chief corporate and global partnerships officer at Purdue; Doug Esamann, executive vice president and president of Duke Energy's Midwest and Florida regions; state Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-District 27; and Suresh Garimella, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnership.

A range of hands-on activities will put lecture lessons into principle, including a power transmission and distribution project; the "Internet of Things;" the Solar and Wind Farm Challenge; the Solar Angle Challenge; and a LEGO project. Off-campus activities include a tour of Duke Energy's Cayuga generating station near Terre Haute, the Tipmont REMC solar farm near Linden, and Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. in Lafayette.

"Allowing students to witness how energy sciences impact the real world may inspire passion in STEM disciplines and lead students to a career field that they would have been otherwise unaware of," Esamann said. "Showing students how they can impact the future through science, technology, engineering or mathematics is imperative to creating the future lea­­­ders of our energy economy."

Participation in the 2015 Energy Academy is provided free of charge to those students and teachers selected this year by competitive process. Teachers will receive a $400 stipend for participating. The dates for the 2016 program also have been set, for June 19-25. To request sponsorship information or for more details about DEAP, contact Sharma at 765-494-1610, sharma@purdue.edu.

For the full Purdue experience, students and teachers stay in residence halls and eat at campus dining court facilities. Purdue undergraduate juniors and seniors will serve as counselors. On the program's final day, each team will present results of their energy project to an audience composed of professors, industrial sponsors and parents.

The academy will provide continuous resources and support to students and teachers after the week is over. A number of teachers will be asked to return to Purdue to share their experience in designing and delivering energy lessons in their classrooms, fostering a community dedicated to improving STEM education. See video.

In addition, the program provides energy-related educational resources, including simulation and modeling tools in understanding and designing better energy systems. Attendees will be encouraged to launch energy clubs in their schools.

The Energy Academy at Purdue is made possible through primary funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation and corporate sponsorships that allow participants to attend the academy free of charge. External co-sponsors and supporters in the past and this year have included Bowen Engineering, General Electric, Goldwind, Green Tech America, Horizon Educational, Kidwind Project, National Energy Education Development Project, Nokero, RPiWare, Siemens Energy, Tipmont REMC and WindStream Technologies Inc.

The academy is organized by the Purdue Energy Center, a Discovery Park research center focused on advancing energy sciences and engineering for sustainable energy solutions. The 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, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Anna Schultz, 812-447-5229, schult70@purdue.edu

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

Related Video: 

2014 Event Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wm5eq2VzpUM

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