For those of us who have solar-electric systems on our rooftops, one of the best ways to promote renewable energy is to welcome tomorrow’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) leaders to tour our homes. Living in a university city has provided me with this opportunity for the past four years after installing a 5 kW PV system.
During July 2014, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb hosted a weeklong Engineering Summer Academy for high school students. Outreach coordinator Brian Long indicated that “this intensive summer camp challenges students to explore a specific area of engineering. Students perform several hands-on learning experiments in our state-of-the-art laboratories, working alongside engineering faculty, alumni, and current students.”
While touring the PV system at my home, the students assembled into groups of four and cycled through several hands-on activities including:
These students asked thoughtful questions and proceeded through the hands-on activities with great enthusiasm. It was an honor for me to have the opportunity to host them on what turned out to be a beautiful, sunny, cool morning. I am confident that with students such as these throughout our great country, our energy future is in great hands.
Richard Born • DeKalb, Illinois