Ranjeet Agarwala PhD
East Carolina University
209 Science and Technology Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858
Project Title: Renewable Energy and Green Manufacturing Academy for Rural Middle School Students in Eastern North Carolina
The College of Engineering and Technology (CET) at East Carolina University (ECU) is partnering with middle schools in rural eastern North Carolina (ENC) to offer summer camps focused on renewable energy and green manufacturing. The objectives of this educational opportunity are to a) excite students about pursuing professional and research careers in science-related areas; b) enhance students' proficiencies in science and mathematics; and c) encourage and motivate students to persist with science and mathematics education through scientific inquiry based hands-on learning.
The project is held during the summer at the ECU campus and will bring together approximately seventy-five (75) middle school students over a period of three (3) years. Each year, approximately twenty-five (25) 7th grade students, exhibiting a strong potential for STEM, will be actively recruited. Working collaboratively with STEM East, NC Society of Hispanic Professionals (NCSHP), teachers, and parents we plan to recruit underserved and unrepresented STEM oriented middle school students.
The students learn about renewable energy technologies such as solar, wind, and hydro-kinetics through experiential hands-on learning modules. The students also learn about green manufacturing such as waste reduction, recycling, and remanufacturing using inquiry-based learning. Inquiry-based experiments, combined with field trips will help students connect theory with practice and applications. We partner with ECU's Center for Sustainability, ECU's College of Education's STEM core, and the University of North Carolina's (UNC) Costal Studies
Institute (CSI) to develop and conduct experiential learning modules over 10 business days (50 contact hours). All the project educational activities are aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Studies.
Each student is assigned a trackable project and contact will be maintained through a website and visits to the schools. Project staff will make two trips to participating middle schools to gauge the students' progress on their yearlong renewable energy projects. Parents and teachers are invited to the opening and closing camp ceremonies. One of the direct measures of success of this project will be gauged by tracking the number of students who are excited about high school STEM programs after participating in the summer camp.