The Energy and Entrepreneurship Summer Seminar is a hands-on discovery program designed to expose you to 4 different college majors in 5 weeks. During the seminar’s weekly Energyshops you’ll learn how to solve problems like a scientist, engineer, business person, and policy maker. All while gaining the skills and insights to you need to plan your collegiate trajectory.
Week 1: Chemical Fuels: Oil, Hydrogen, and Batteries
Chemical fuels drive the majority of the tech we use every day. Refined petroleum powers the cars on our roads, bituminous coal and natural gas drive the power plants that generate 60% of the electricity used in our homes and businesses, and electrochemical reactions in batteries keep our electronics up and running. In this workshop we’ll explore the chemical mechanics behind all of these processes, and we’ll even look at some of the chemical fuels that may provide us power in the future.
Week 2: The Physics of Solar Panels
Photovoltaic cells, or solar panels as we often call them, are an exciting new technology that may or may not revolutionize our energy economy. But how do solar panels actually work? In this workshop we’ll learn some of the exciting properties behind how light carries energy, we’ll examine the bizarre characteristics of materials that allow us to convert solar energy into electricity, and we’ll look at some of the practical restraints of solar energy conversion as they are imposed by the laws of physics.
Week 3: Solar Finance
In this workshop we’ll learn the business end of solar power generation. We’ll first examine some of the economic principles used by people, businesses, and governments to assess the viability of a new investment, such as clean energy. We’ll then use these principles and see how they apply to multiple stakeholders in the solar energy market: from large capital providers considering investing in solar energy startups, to individual households considering installing a residential rooftop solar energy system. Students will gain experience with common financial tools like excel, while examining real data from publicly traded companies.
Week 4: Contemporary Law & Policy in Energy
In this workshop we’ll explore how policy and law impact how energy is consumed in America. We’ll first aim to understand the tools that policy and lawmakers have at their disposal to impact consumer decisions on energy consumption. We’ll then dive in to some case studies of how these tools have been enacted at the local, state, and national level. Our journey should reveal some of the major issues in America’s current energy system, and point out some clear areas with room for improvement.
Week 5: Energy in the Real World
In this workshop, we’ll take a break from our typical structure, and instead learn from three industry professionals whose work in energy impacts our lives directly. We’ll see first-hand how the material we’ve covered over the past 5 weeks applies to the real world. Each student will also synthesize the information they’ve gained over the summer into a Future Pursuit Guide which will serve as a personal roadmap to future careers.
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