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STEM and K-12

Two important components of the EVTC education activities are the development and implementation of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and K-12 programs.

STEM Programs

University of Central Florida

The past year has seen an influx of EVTC-based activities that have joined the large STEM and diversity programs within UCF. One notable program was STEM Day at UCF, held on January 30, 2015. This EVTC program featured three electric vehicles that were hosted by two very knowledgeable students who discussed the vehicles. In addition, faculty hosted a table with an Electric Vehicle Transportation Center display and student handout materials.

photo of StarMetro electric bus.
UCF STEM day, student discussions with two EVTC staffers.

photo of StarMetro electric bus.
UCF STEM day with student and three EVTC staffers.

The event also featured model solar-powered race cars that were used to stimulate student interest in science and engineering. The STEM program was located outdoors at the UCF electric vehicle charging area. More than 1200 K-12 grade students from Orange County participated in UCF STEM Day, with 310 students participating in the EVTC-specific activities.

photo of StarMetro electric bus.
UCF mascot with electric vehicles

University of Hawaii

A STEM workshop presentation was delivered by Hawaii Natural Energy Institute faculty on renewable energies and electric vehicles to approximately 30 middle school teachers in Oahu on June 28, 2014.

K-12 Program Activities

The EVTC program extends to the K-12 audience through the development and implementation of STEM-based curricula, professional development for teachers and public outreach events for students and their families.

University of Central Florida

The EVTC at UCF is coordinating the Electrathon, a go-cart-based electric vehicle endurance race for high school and college students. Electrathon vehicles are custom, participant-designed and built, and powered by an electric motor and batteries. For more information visit FSEC's STEM Education wepage.

photo of StarMetro electric bus.
UCF STEM Day K-12 students at education booth.

Tuskegee University

Electric Vehicle Transportation Center Day - October 2015

In an effort to positively enrich and develop students in the Macon County School System, the Tuskegee University Physics Department on October 7, 2015 hosted an outreach event at the university aimed at inspiring pre-teen and teen students from the local community to "change the world" in the future. This inspiration and training were achieved by having the students participate in technology competitions, receive recognition from university leaders, and witness presentations from high level companies and institutions that included Alabama Power Company, which provided Tesla and BMW electric cars for demonstrations and rides. Community members, students, faculty and staff also attended.

These educational and stimulating events were part of a day-long occasion called "Electric Vehicle Transportation Center Day" or "EVTC Day." This event is the result of a research and education grant provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that created the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center comprised of three partner institutions: Tuskegee University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Hawaii.

Conference Attendees
Conference attendees at the Tuskegee EVTC Day.

The event was separated into three sessions. The first session consisted of students from Tuskegee Public School, Tuskegee Institute Middle School, and Booker T. Washington High School competing in a "Make-a-Simple-Motor" competition. For this competition, students were paired up and given a D battery, two paper clips, a magnet, and wiring. They had to then manipulate the items electronically to create enough energy to make a model toy car and to drive the toy car in a circular motion. The student pairs that made the car spin the circle the longest were chosen as the competition winners. 

Students awardees Student awardees
Students receiving their awards for the "Make-a-Simple-Motor" Competition.

Beginning the second session, Dr. Prakash Sharma provided the welcome and presented guests with an overview of the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center project, as well as the Tuskegee University Physics Department. Highlights included awards and grants received by students and faculty in the department, and the goals and achievements of the EVTC project.

Student recognition
Tuskegee students being recognized for outstanding academic achievements.

The invited speaker for the second session was Ms. Starla Curry-Hilliard of Alabama Power Company, whose talk to the students placed emphasis on encouraging, rousing and motivating each student to realize not only their potential to be innovative contributors, but their duty as well. She stated "You all are the future." We are depending on you to make things better, faster, lighter, smaller and cheaper." She also reminded them of the three characters they already possessed - "curiosity, creativity, and courage," - to make this responsibility something they could handle.

The final session was demonstrations of Alabama Power provided electric vehicles and the use of renewable energy to power these vehicles, as well as electric vehicle rides for the students. This session was attended by 250 students and guests and was a highlight for many.

EV discussion
Alabama Power representative discussing an electric vehicle
with Tuskegee University President Dr. Brian Johnson.

Electric Vehicle Day - July 2015

The second "Tuskegee University One Day Electric Vehicle" workshop for local high school and college students was held on July 9, 2015. The event was hosted by the Tuskegee College of Arts and Sciences Physics Department with participation from the Florida Solar Energy Center (Kevin Schleith) and the Alabama Department of Transportation (Michelle Ovens and Ron Johnson). The workshop focus was an outreach to the local high school students in order to encourage student interest in STEM education and careers. Using the Electric Vehicle program as a back drop, the presentations and demonstrations focused on STEM research and job creation in the renewable energy fields.

The day started with three presentations on solar energy and the evolving development of the electric vehicles. These presentations described solar energy, analyzed sustainable transportation and showed the creation of high paying jobs in the fields of roadway improvements, transportation research, and electric vehicle production and sales.

The highlight of the day was a hands on demonstration, led by Dr. Chen of Tuskegee University and his physics students, showing the science applications involving electric vehicles. The use of a number of different mechanical and chemical reactions showed the audience how solar, water, and wind can produce the necessary resources to power not only cars, but also homes and businesses. This demonstration was a firsthand look at STEM in action and was enjoyed by all the students in attendance (as well as the faculty).

Tuskegee EV Workshop: Physics and engineering majors.
Photo: Tuskegee University

Finally, the day concluded with a question and answer period and an informal group discussion that allowed the high school student to interact one on one with faculty about opportunities at Tuskegee University.

Electric Vehicle Day - November 2014

The “Tuskegee University Electric Vehicle Day” was held on November 6, 2014, at the Kellogg Conference Center on Tuskegee Campus (see previous story in this section). Tuskegee faculty have also begun planning to coordinate its STEM program with Alabama Power and the Alabama Department of Transportation in order to enhance the curriculum, course offerings education and research training in the coming academic year. Details are at http://www.tuskegee.edu.