Fletcher wins engineering education award
Friday, December 3rd, 2010
Associate Professor Robert Fletcher won first place for a paper on alternative energy summer camps at the 2010 annual conference on the Energy Conversion and Conservation Division of the American Society of Engineering Education.
Thirty-five published papers were presented at the conference held in Lexington, Ky.
Fletcher reported on the outcomes from a one-week Alternative Energy Summer Camp for high school students held at Lawrence Tech in 2007 and 2008. This summer camp is one of several at Lawrence Tech that give high school students the opportunity to learn about specific technologies and to interact with university science and engineering faculty.
The Alternative Energy Summer Camp focuses on the major technologies in this field, including solar heating, solar photovoltaics, wind energy, geothermal systems, and fuel cell and hydrogen
technologies. This camp was held with a limited enrollment to help assure close faculty contact and to give the students maximum opportunities to obtain hands-on experiences with the equipment in Lawrence Tech’s Alternative Energy Laboratory.
Fletcher’s paper evaluated the evolution of the summer camp structure, and assessed and reviewed the feasibility, benefits, and value of conducting this summer camp. Detailed assessment data was obtained from student participants through surveys and interviews. Feedback from participating faculty from both summer sessions augmented the understanding and value of the camps for both the students and host institution.
“We have found that students not only gained a significant understanding of the alternative energy technologies, but also increased their desire to pursue the study of such technologies when they enrolled in college,” Fletcher said. “Students also indicated an increased interest in pursuing an engineering degree in general.”
The results of this study at Lawrence Tech strongly support the value and benefits of holding such summer camps for the recruitment and expansion of student appreciation of the alternative energy field, according to Fletcher.