Posts Tagged ‘STEM’

IEEE EDS hosts Solar Day Student Competition at 2012 PVSC

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

On 3 June, a group of mostly 10th grade students from Taylor High School in Austin, Texas, USA took first place at the IEEE Electron Devices Society’s (EDS) Austin Solar Day Competition. The team won for its B.L.A.D.E van (Beginners Learning Alternative Designs for Energy), which it transformed into an alternative energy vehicle (A.E.V.) from a donated 1995 GMC Safari. To win, teams had to demonstrate the use of photovoltaics in a practical application, using only photovoltaics as the power source for the project.

To build the vehicle, the team met each week after school to solder 6″ x 6″ polycrystalline wafers and construct 144-watt solar panels. The students mounted the panels on the AEV to charge a bank of (8) 6-volt deep cycle batteries connected in a series-parallel circuit. The batteries are charged through voltage regulators and wired to inverters, with the inverters wired to weatherproof receptacles cut into the van. The team won, not only for building the solar cells and the energy system, and for netting sponsorships and materials donations, but for teaching the public about solar energy with fun activities like free movies in the park using a projector, DVD player and amplifier plugged into a weatherproof receptacle – all powered by the B.L.A.D.E. van.

IEEE EDS Austin Solar Day, held alongside the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), attracted about 2,000 people from the area. The competition allowed students to interact directly with world-famous photovoltaic technologists and businesses. Attendees included PV installers, PV buyers, students, utilities, and the general public interested in including solar power in their daily lives.

“My Daughter is an Engineer” program helps get girls interested in engineering

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

22 February 2012 – Women represent only about 20 percent of engineering students and 10 percent of profession engineers, according to statistics. The “My Daughter is an Engineer” (MDIAE) program — designed to bring mothers and daughters together to participate in engineering-based activities — is helping to change that. This K-12 outreach program, sponsored by the IEEE Control Systems Society, introduces robotics and controls to young girls via hands-on engineering workshops with an aim to get them to consider future careers in STEM (science, engineering, technology, and mathematics). Participants included 14 elementary school girls and their mothers who worked together in two engineering-based workshops on robotics and controls technology in everyday life at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), California, USA. Each student and her mother formed a team, made a remote-controlled robot (called the RC Snap Rover), designed an application to use the robot in helping a daily task, presented their project, and demoed their robot. Three winners were selected based on the creativity and performance.

The girls also participated in a separate workshop on academic career preparation and skills learning. The program included a field trip to Columbia Memorial Space Center at City of Downey, California, USA, in which students and their mothers visited a realistic mock-up of a spacecraft and mission control room. To successfully complete their mission, they became crew members on a simulated space mission to solve real-life problems in math, science, and technology. After the mission, they visited a robotics lab to program a robot on Lego/Mission Mars computer and tested their skills with collecting, surveying, and rescuing. Finalists were recommended and selected by the school counselors and the MDIAE program committee. Participating schools included four schools from the Long Beach Unified School District: Chavez Elementary, Edison Elementary, International Elementary, and Roosevelt Elementary (California, USA). More information can be found on the Women in Engineering Outreach Program Web site.