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ConvEne IGERT students explain renewable energy to middle school students


Dozens of excited middle and high school students from across Santa Barbara County spent a morning learning about alternative energy by building and racing their own solar cars. The workshop, presented as part of Science and Technology Day at UCSB, is the brainchild of Chemistry graduate students Alexis Ostrowski and Bright Walker, both fellows of the UCSB ConvEne IGERT program. Bright and Alexis developed the curriculum activities, which include a presentation on alternative energy, hands-on activities, and a corresponding video for teachers, in collaboration with education staff from the UCSB Materials Research Laboratory. After its successful debut at Science and Technology Day, the workshop will be presented by MRL staff at schools throughout Santa Barbara County.

Address Goals

The activity helps ConvEne IGERT trainees become better communicators, and encourages, even obliges them to make the context and message of their research accessible to the lay public; here students from middle and high schools. In addition, such activities expose young and impressionable school students to the excitement and importance of scientific research, thereby encouraging students (and in this case, students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines) to pursue careers in science and engineering.