West Virginia University will become a home away from home for a group of West Virginia high school math and science teachers for six weeks next summer as part of the new Research Experience for Teachers in Energy and the Environment Program.

The WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has been awarded $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to implement the program over three summers.

Participants won’t be sitting in a classroom taking notes, said Darran Cairns, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, one of the project’s leaders. They’ll learn about energy and environmental topics by working on laboratory research projects alongside WVU faculty members.

“The goal of this program is to engage and inspire high school teachers about the exciting work that is going on at WVU in the areas of energy and environmental research so that they can return to their classrooms and share their knowledge and enthusiasm with their students,” Cairns said.

Teachers will be working on projects relating to energy conversion, materials for energy conservation and energy storage, alternative fuels and emissions, and environmental monitoring and maintenance, Cairns said.

Nigel Clark, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is the other principal researcher on the project. Reagan Curtis, associate professor of educational psychology in the College of Human Resources and Education, will lead the assessment of educational outcomes for the project. The EdVenture Group, a Morgantown-based nonprofit organization that works with schools and teachers statewide, is another partner.

The special summer program will even include an international field trip: Participants will have the opportunity to England to attend an International Summer Energy School at the University of Birmingham. There they will visit the university’s laboratories in alternative fuels, fuel cells, and hydrogen storage, and take a trip on a hydrogen-powered canal boat.

CONTACT: Susan Case
Director of College Relations
College of Engineering & Mineral Resources
(304) 293-4086


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