ENvision week: high school students gain hands-on experience at the Powerhouse Energy Campus

By Shelby Condit

High school students from Denver Public Schools gained hands-on experience at the Powerhouse Energy Campus by soldering their own “Simon Says” game. Photo by Shelby Condit.

Last week, a group of 50 high school students from Denver Public Schools (DPS) came to the Powerhouse Energy Campus during ENvision week, a program aimed at providing hands-on experiences in engineering fields to students.

“We chose the Energy Institute at CSU to show students the different research opportunities that they might get involved in,” said Aaron Benally, program coordinator for Diversity Programs in Engineering at the Colorado State University Engineering Success Center. In the open lab space at the Powerhouse Energy Campus, students learned how circuits work, worked on projects related to building a solar powered car, and had the opportunity to design and solder their own “Simon Says” game.

The program, which is part of Campos EPC Foundation was started by Marco Campos, a Denver entrepreneur, engineer, and graduate of Denver Public Schools. “[Campos] wanted to provide opportunities for students to learn about engineering. This is one way that he hopes to see more students from DPS get into college and possibly achieve the same success that he has accomplished,” said Benally.

Gabe DiDomenico teaches students about the EcoCAR challenge. Photo by Shelby Condit.

Gabe DiDomenico, graduate assistant and engineering manager for the CSU EcoCAR 3 competition, guided the students’ tour, highlighting the work that undergraduates are able to participate in such as the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (IREC), the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, and the EcoCAR challenge. “The students get to learn applicable skills, see real research in progress and hopefully be inspired to pursue a STEM career. I think that’s a very helpful experience for people their age,” DiDomenico said.

The partnership between the Engineering Success Center, the Energy Institute, and ENvision week is one of many ways the Energy Institute and Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering at CSU help connect young innovators with professionals in STEM.

Learn more about the Energy Institute’s K-12 outreach here.