UMass Wind IGERT Fellows Andrew Allyn, Micah Brewer and Bob Darrow participated in the 2012 Science Quest on the UMass campus on October 27. The weekend event brought together high-achieving high school students from around the state for educational workshops on a range of science, technology and engineering-themed topics.
The IGERT fellows organized an hour-long course titled "The Challenges of Siting Offshore Wind Farms," which they presented to two full classrooms of students and their parent chaperones on Saturday morning. Each fellow gave a brief presentation on their area of expertise, teaching students the basics of wind energy production and some of the common engineering, ecological, and political challenges associated with developing offshore wind. Following these presentations, students completed a group activity in which they were asked to determine the optimal site for a hypothetical wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts. In selecting a site, students were forced to consider a variety of ecological, economic, and political trade-offs, and to weigh the relative importance of these factors in making their decision.
The students demonstrated their intelligence and remained engaged throughout the presentations, and the activity generated fruitful debates and discussion about the many challenges of siting offshore wind projects. Both the presenters and the participants enjoyed themselves at this fun and educational event.