A diverse group of undergraduates from colleges across the country is participating in wind energy research at UMass Amherst this summer as part of our National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program “Offshore Wind Energy: Solving the Engineering, Environmental & Socio-Economic Challenges.” Students are paired with IGERT fellows as mentors for their summer research projects. On June 14-17 the REU students went on a fieldtrip to Cape Cod and the south shore of Massachusetts to see wind energy projects in action. The students participated in five major activities on the trip, including: 1) field work on Monomoy National Wildlife refuge off Chatham, MA, 2) meeting with staff at Joint Base Camp Cape Cod to visit their 3 wind turbines 3) visit to Falmouth to see wind turbines and learn about citizen advocacy promoting wind energy and 4) visiting the Port of New Bedford to learn about port facilities for offshore wind turbine construction and deployment 5) visit Mass Maritime Academy in Buzzard's Bay to hear about their sustainable campus (including a wind turbine).
REU student Gabriel Colón Reyes writes:
As a member of this REU I’ve had the chance to learn new ideas, research interesting topics, and hear from people who know wind engineering. But this is not only done in the lab sitting in front of a computer and going to conferences. We had the chance to go on a three-day field trip to Cape Cod to be able to see the effects of wind turbines up close. The field trip included visiting an animal refuge, an army base, and a boat harbor, among other places, where we had the opportunity to go inside a wind turbine and talk to an engineer about related topics and questions in the wind engineering field. We learned about social and environmental impacts wind turbines have on society and how our projects could help improve them. This experience allowed us to talk to professionals and to have a broader perspective on what is wind engineering. Plus, it was a great way for all the REU students to bond together.