FREEDM pre-college renewable energy program: Inspiring young adults to recognize the value of STEM careers

Keith Holbert, Taipeng Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The FREEDM precollege program uses renewable (i.e., green) energy as a platform to help high school students realize the value and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program lectures, tours, and activities are designed to inspire secondary school student interest in engineering and encourage them to enter college and study in a STEM major after graduation from high school. In the four-week summer commuter program, the high school juniors and seniors, designated as Young Scholars, learn about renewable energy via four programmatic facets. The class time primarily comprises interactive presentations focused on the topics of electrical energy and renewables. To provide real world engineering examples and to expand the students' familiarity with various engineering branches, multiple tours, such as visiting a power plant, are arranged. Some additional activities, such as a debate centered on renewable energy resources, learning how to solder, and an introduction to engineering computer tools, supplement their learning and provide them with some valuable skills for their future studies. The signature activity is having each student work on an individual project that is related to energy conversion. A weekly oral presentation provides the students the opportunity to share what they have learned during the week and report on the progress of their project. A science fair style poster presentation is scheduled for the last day of the summer program. By comparing the pre-program and post-program survey results for the Young Scholars, the FREEDM precollege program has met its goal of instilling the students with an understanding of engineering careers. Furthermore, students who have participated in this precollege program have stated that they have gained more confidence in their future studies and they believe that they can do well in college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


Other123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'FREEDM pre-college renewable energy program: Inspiring young adults to recognize the value of STEM careers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this