Campus News

Western Kentucky High School Students Tour UK Research Labs


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 24, 2012) — The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and Plugged In: The Northwest Kentucky Energy Initiative recently sponsored an energy research tour in Lexington for high school students from western Kentucky.

A group of 13 students from Henderson County High School and Union County High School visited the CAER labs where they met with researchers and learned about their projects. They also toured Fayette County Public School's Locust Trace AgriScience Farm.

Sarah Mardon, program coordinator for CAER in western Kentucky, organized and led the tour. Mardon is also an adviser for the Henderson County High School Energy Club. 

"The students are members of the energy club at their school and have been learning about a variety of energy sources and how to save and monitor energy use," Mardon said. "Viewing a net-zero school like Locust Trace allowed the students to see renewable energy sources in action. Talking with researchers about their work provided students with a better understanding of why we do energy research and what they will need to do now and in the future if they wish to pursue a career in research or energy."

The students viewed and learned about the renewable energy features such as solar photovoltaics during their tour of Locust Trace, and they met with various research groups at CAER, where they discussed the uses of carbon fibers, how algae can be used to mitigate carbon dioxide, coal combustion byproducts such as fly ash, and coal gasification technology.

The students also learned about opportunities to join Kentucky Energy Clubs, and how they can become involved in these types of research.

"This region has made energy and energy-related jobs as a target sector in our economic development strategy," said Kevin T. Sheilley, Plugged In Steering Team member. "However, to have these jobs we must have individuals with the skills necessary to compete for these positions. Plugged In has made partnering with UK CAER and our education initiatives a key to our efforts."

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