CEE professor leads NSF project aimed at renewable energy education

Published: Feb 24, 2023 11:00 AM

By Jeremy Henderson

A collaborative $139,375 National Science Foundation (NSF) project led by Lauren Beckingham, W. Allen and Martha Reed Endowed Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Karen McNeal, Molette Endowed Professor of geosciences in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and Tuskegee University mechanical engineering professor John Solomon, aims to grow a much-needed workforce for renewable energy industries.

"The project seeks to draw a link between engineering undergraduate students’ environmental knowledge, attitudes, willingness and preparedness to join targeted renewable energy industries and institutions," Beckingham said.  

Engineering faculty affiliated with the project at both Auburn and Tuskegee have developed course activities for students to increase sustainability and renewable energy awareness, as well as to educate students on careers in the renewable energy field. Those efforts include new hands-on renewable energy laboratories allowing students first-hand experience with solar panels and wind turbines in order to examine factors which increase energy production.

"A favorite among students so far has been a virtual career panel featuring renewable energy professionals who provided insight into careers in the field and gave students opportunities to ask questions," Beckingham said.

The impact of these new course activities is being assessed through student surveys taken at the beginning and end of semesters.

"A key to the success of the project is aligning desired student competencies and skills to those required of professionals working in renewable energy industries," Beckingham said. "This is also a chance for working professionals in the renewable energy industry to actively participate by sharing what skills and competencies they use in their positions."

Industry professionals interested in participating in the research study may do so here.

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson, jdh0123@auburn.edu, 3343190721
Photovoltaics module solar panels and wind turbines generating electricity renewable green energy.

Photovoltaics module solar panels and wind turbines generating electricity renewable green energy.

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