California Students Learn STEM Concepts at Solar Science Academy

A few hundred students in California are taking part in SunPower's latest Solar Science Academy, a project-based learning program offered each summer by the solar technology company.

With about 300 high school students from 17 districts attending this year, the one-week program aims to immerse participants "in a solar-focused curriculum that emphasizes the real-world application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," according to a news release. "Participating students and teachers work with industry professionals and participate in learning laboratories and field trips to nearby solar system installations. The program concludes with student presentations to a panel of industry representatives, school board members, teachers and community leaders."

"As solar power plays an increasingly critical role in meeting global energy demand, students participating in the SunPower Solar Science Academy may be the engineers and business leaders charting our energy future," said Howard Wenger, president of business units at SunPower, in a prepared statement. "In the process of learning about solar technology and energy solutions, the students' enthusiasm and ability to understand complex concepts is very inspiring. SunPower is proud of the increasing number of participants in the Solar Science Academy program we attract each year."

This week the academy is hosting 65 students from Fontana, Moreno Valley, Rialto and San Bernardino school districts at the University of California, Rvierside and 70 students from the Antioch, Mount Diablo, Oakland and Pittsburg school districts at California State University-East Bay. Other districts with students taking part in the academy include Fairfield-Suisun, Benicia, Porterville, Cutler-Orosi and Pajaro Valley.

"We are excited about working with SunPower to offer this program to our students and staff," said Tracey Vacker, director of career technical education at Fontana Unified School District, in a prepared statement. "The SunPower Solar Science Academy brings relevant and real-life knowledge into the classroom, while preparing students for the challenges of the 21st century. We're grateful for the opportunity to support the development of our community's young people with this curriculum during the summer months."

Since its launch in 2012 more than 600 students and 86 teachers have participated in the SunPower Solar Science Academy.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].