The FREEDM Systems Center has developed partnerships with a number of middle-and-high schools in four states to increase awareness of the importance of renewable energy systems and recruit future students. A feature of our Center is the theme "each one mentor one." A network of interconnections is being created between industry members, faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, teachers, and high school students.
Goal: To develop and assess long-term partnerships with middle and high schools, teachers, and students to enhance teachers' engineering content knowledge and pedagogical methods, bring engineering concepts into the classroom, involve pre-college students in research, and increase the diversity and enrollment of domestic students in university degree programs.
Activities: ERC graduate student classroom visits (Expert Classroom Visitor Program), a Young Scholars program for high school students, a Research Experience for Teachers program (RET) which includes teacher curriculum development workshops and research experiences, summer camps in renewable energy for girls and minorities in grades 6-9, and the North Carolina Science Olympiad Shock Value event.
The FREEDM partner schools are:
For Middle School Students: The Renewable Energy Summer Camp is sponsored by NC State, FSU/FAMU, and Arizona State and is available for students in grades 6-9 attending partner schools. The weeklong camp inspires a diverse group of girls and boys to pursue careers in engineering, science, mathematics or technology. The center also sponsors a renewable energy event (Shock Value) at the North Carolina Science Olympiad.
For High School Students: The center's Young Scholars Program places high school students where the action is - in working engineering laboratories. During this summer experience, Young Scholars (with the help of graduate students, teachers, faculty, industry partners, and REUs) learn about the work in FREEDM research labs, participate in career and college exploration activities, and experience field trips and tours. Program participants also prepare a research project to submit to the International Science and Engineering Fair, or an equivalent. Young Scholar experiences are available at NC State, FSU/FAMU, MS&T, and Arizona State. The center also sponsors a renewable energy event (Show Value) at the North Carolina Science Olympiad.
For Middle & High School Teachers: Teachers can build their engineering knowledge through the Research Experiences for Teachers in Engineering program (RET). This summer program brings teachers into center laboratories to participate in FREEDM-related lessons and field trips and helps them translate their experiences into classroom activities. The results will be classroom-tested and shared through the Internet. Stipends and CEU credits are available. Teaching materials are provided for each participant. Participating teachers in NC and FL can request classroom visits from Center graduate students through the Expert Classroom Visitor Program. In addition, the FREEDM Systems Center is partnering with the NC State Kenan Fellows Program for Curriculum and Leadership Development. The Kenan Fellow for the FREEDM Systems Center works alongside the RETs and Young Scholars to provide leadership and write new K-12 lessons to bring Center concepts to the classroom.
The FREEDM Systems Center's precollege program is led by Dr. Lisa Grable at NC State, Dr. Roxanne Hughes at FSU/FAMU, Dr. Keith Holbert at ASU, and Dr. Mariesa Crow and Dr. Mehdi Ferdowsi at MST. Dr. Amy Overbay of Overbay Consulting is the precollege assessment coordinator. For more information on joining precollege programs, please visit The Science House website.
This project is an Engineering Research Center Grant funded by the National Science Foundation and industry partners (Award #0812121, Division of Engineering Education and Centers).
FREEDM Pre-college Project Partners: The Science House at NC State University, the Center for Integrating Research and Learning at Florida State University, the School of Electrical, Computer & Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Missouri University of Science & Technology.