June 7, 2018

Duke Energy Academy to bring hands-on STEM learning to students, teachers

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The annual Duke Energy Academy returns for the seventh consecutive year to Purdue this month for a week of hands-on STEM learning in energy-related topics. 

From June 17-23, 55 high school students and 25 teachers will explore energy resources, power generation, transmission and storage, energy utilization, and new frontiers in energy research. 

Participants will have the opportunity to attend lectures by guest speakers and tour energy-related sites and laboratories. Student teams will work together to conduct hands-on research projects and discuss energy policy in their team presentations. 

Additionally, science teachers will work to create new teaching modules based on STEM lesson plans they can then employ in their classrooms. Selected teachers will be invited to return to Purdue and share the experiences they have had utilizing these energy lesson plans in their classrooms. To promote further engagement after the Energy Academy concludes, the program is developing a website that will provide students and teachers with valuable STEM-learning resources. 

The program aims not only to interest students in STEM careers, but also to engage them with understanding the world’s energy needs. 

“The current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. The energy needs will double from 15 terawatts to 30 terawatts,” said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Energy Center. “The program is designed to inspire future leaders to think of sustainable solutions of this global problem.”

The Duke Energy Academy is designed to provide an immersive experience that will inspire high school students to pursue energy sciences and engineering. Purdue juniors and seniors who are majoring in STEM-related fields will work as student counselors, providing high school students with support and leadership throughout the duration of the academy.

“For seven consecutive years we have sponsored the Duke Energy Academy to inspire students and the teachers who lead them,” said Melody Birmingham-Byrd, president of Duke Energy Indiana. “Purdue has been a great partner in helping us prepare a workforce for the jobs of the future.”

Highlights of this year’s Energy Academy include a drone demonstration in collaboration with ArcelorMittal, as well as an instructional activity led by Purdue undergraduate students Megan Ledford and Connor Cromwell. An additional topic included this year is about energy storage and battery safety in collaboration with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana.

“ArcelorMittal is proud to partner with Purdue University and the Duke Energy Academy on offering enriched STEM education opportunities to students,” said John Mengel, vice president and general manager, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor. “STEM-focused initiatives align with ArcelorMittal’s commitment to making a more sustainable future for our company, by creating a pipeline of talented scientists and engineers who will continue to revolutionize the steel industry.”

The academy is made possible through primary funding provided since 2012 by the Duke Energy Foundation and other corporate sponsorships that allow participants to attend the academy free of charge. Teachers are paid additional $400 as stipend. It is organized by Purdue’s Energy Center, a Discovery Park research center focused on advancing energy sciences and engineering for sustainable energy solutions. Discovery Park is an open laboratory for interdisciplinary collaboration at Purdue focused on the grand challenges of global health, global security and those that lie at the nexus of sustainable energy, world food supply and the environment. Large-scale interdisciplinary research is carried out in Discovery Park with an emphasis to drive innovations to the marketplace. Faculty, students and staff gain experience and access to the university’s entrepreneurial programs. 

Other co-sponsors and supporters for the Academy include ArcelorMittal, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue; Bowen Engineering; CMS Energy; Chemical Engineering, Purdue; Civil Engineering, Purdue; Duke Energy; Energy Center, Discovery Park, Purdue; Kidwind Project; Laboratory of Renewable Resource Engineering, Purdue; Mechanical Engineering, Purdue; Nuclear Engineering, Purdue; Office of Naval Research; Tipmont REMC; Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane; and Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication, Purdue.

Writer: Sarah Olson, 760-419-9222, seolson@purdue.edu

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

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

Jolice A. Pojeta, 219 787 214, jolice.pojeta@arcelormittal.com

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