NC Electric Cooperatives Host STEM Academy Students to Showcase Technology and Innovation

Last week, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives hosted over 60 high school seniors from Athens Drive Magnet High School’s STEM Academy for an educational visit to learn more about energy generation, technology and innovation. 

“Our goal is to provide a learning experience about the ever-changing needs of the energy industry while demonstrating innovations in technology to meet those needs,” said Dana Davis, vice president of human resources at North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Experiences like these are key to engaging students while generating talent that will address the energy needs of the future.” 

Students surround "House of Pressure" demonstration model.

STEM Academy students gather around the “House of Pressure” demonstration model to get a closer look.

During their visit, students were organized into small groups and traveled throughout the building to learn about a variety of innovative technology tools and concepts used by NC electric co-ops including an outage simulation demonstration in the Energy Operations Center, a “House of Pressure” exhibit and a presentation on electric vehicles which included an overview of the cooperative’s EV charging network. The students also participated in an interactive problem-solving scenario that allowed them to calculate the potential savings from using energy-efficient devices in their homes. 

“North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives have done a fantastic job of displaying real world examples of STEM Education,” said Shane Barry, a science educator at Athens Drive Magnet High School STEM Academy. “This site visit is ultimately preparing our capstone project seniors to address one of the National Academy of Engineers’ Grand Challenges for Engineering.” 

North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives initiated a strategic partnership with Athens Drive’s STEM Academy in the fall of 2018 as a long-term workforce development initiative to enhance student awareness of career opportunities in the energy industry and at electric co-ops. The partnership with Athens Drive is just one example of how North Carolina’s electric cooperatives collaborate with schools to support education, youth initiatives and workforce development throughout the state.