Eighteen students from Malverne High School and Sacred Heart Academy spent their weekends this fall in Hofstra’s Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Lab as part of a program to introduce young people to the importance of renewable energy.
The students worked on projects designing, building and testing small wind turbines and solar panels. First, they developed a solar panel that could track the position of the sun to increase power output depending on light direction. The second half of the program focused on wind power and engineering analysis, testing the performance of wind turbines while modifying design parameters such as circuit loading, blade length, blade size and solidity.
Assistant Professors of Mechanical Engineering John Vaccaro and Alexander Pesch organized the workshop, which on four consecutive Saturdays in October and November, was sponsored by PSEG Long Island.
“The program was able to expose bright young students to engineering and design while introducing renewable energy and its importance to our future,” said Professor Vaccaro. “We hope they gained an appreciation for scientific inquiry and that we have empowered them to become the next generation of creative thinkers.”
Shannya Niveyro, a senior from Sacred Heart Academy, said the program confirmed that her future lay in engineering.
“This program helped me to validate my love for engineering with hands-on practice and experience I know will benefit my future in this career,” she said. “I loved every moment of this course and only wished it was longer!”
The free workshop was made possible by funding provided by the PSEG Science Spark Grant which supports programs that inspire and engage students in STEM subjects. The long term goal of the program is to increase the number of students entering STEM majors at the collegiate level.