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Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM)

article written by:    Olivia Benoit, ME Technology

On October 25, 2018, juniors and seniors from Engineering, Stationary Engineering, and Media Technology participated in an event focusing on the impact of STEM in our community. Classes met in the student forum, where Brian Braginton-Smith, executive director of the Lewis Bay Research Center, gave a presentation on the benefits of offshore windmill production. The presentation introduced the theme for the day’s activities: methods to increase energy efficiency. Students were broken up into four groups to visit four stations. Volunteers from several organizations would teach students about the construction and positive effects of energy efficiency technology.

The first station, run by Meghan Abella-Bowen from Bristol Community College, gave a presentation on how the construction of the wind turbine blades affects the efficiency of the turbine. Abella-Bowen also talked about the patterns in wind and how turbines are constructed based on these patterns. After her presentation, students were put into groups of three where they were tasked with building a model wind turbine. The students were given various tools to create their model. Once it was complete, the group would place their model in front of a fan and record its voltage. The higher the voltage, the more efficient your model was. One of the highest recorded voltages was a 5.0 from a group of juniors in Engineering Technology.

Kathy Driscoll, head of Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability at Mass Maritime Academy, ran the second station. Driscoll gave a presentation on clean energy at Mass Maritime. She focused on how the campus utilizes efficient technology such as a geothermal heat pump, which requires no fossil fuel. Driscoll was proud to mention that Mass Maritime was the first state school to receive a platinum certification for their campus energy efficiency. The academy also installed their first windmill 12 years ago and it still provides 20% of the campus energy. Driscoll ended the presentation by giving students Mass Maritime Academy pamphlets and bags, encouraging them to visit the campus to see the incredible energy-saving technology.

Students from UMass Dartmouth ran the third station which focused on hydropower. Students at this station were broken up into two groups where UMass Dartmouth students used a model to demonstrate the use of water for power. UMass volunteers engaged the students in the model as they showed the engineering and media students how strobe lights can be used to determine the model’s energy. The presentation finale was a preview of how the hydropower model illuminated a strip of lights: demonstrating how water can produce energy.

The final station was run by Paul Vigeant from Bristol Community College. Vigeant went over how offshore windmills are constructed and the various jobs that the turbines are creating. After this, he talked about ideal windmill locations and the geographical reasons why these spots are beneficial. He also explained the process of training for windmill related jobs. Vigeant emphasized the growth of windmill construction and maintenance jobs and how important these tradesmen will be in the near future.

This STEM event taught GNBVT engineering and media technology students about the growing importance of energy efficiency. Students and staff are grateful for the volunteers that shared their knowledge on windmill and energy efficiency.

Photography by: Noah Arroyo * Abbey Arruda * Olivia Benoit * Victoria Bergeron * MacKenzee Cardoso * Melanie Galdamez *Justin Pereira * Sage Wood