A team from the Long Island Alternative Energy Consortium (LIAEC) has received a $250,000 National Science Foundation grant through the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program to create a minor in energy science, technology and policy (ESTeP).
Gary Halada, a professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stony Brook University and the principal investigator for LIAEC, is leading the development of the minor at Stony Brook. Other institution members sharing the grant are Farmingdale State College, Nassau County Community College, New York Institute of Technology, Suffolk County Community College and State University College at Old Westbury.
ESTeP will provide students with the skills to analyze energy policy decisions, follow the dynamics of various energy markets and understand how to use and manage emergent energy technologies. The minor will feature a dedicated advisor and an integrated internship program. Students from underrepresented populations and nontraditional students, such as veterans or those seeking new careers, are among the demographics the minor targets.
The NSF grant is being divided among each institution and will be used over the next two years to assist in course development, partly support the program advisor, develop Web and advertising/recruitment resources, and to help with meetings and administrative costs, said Halada. Some funding also will be used to support an external evaluator who will help measure the impact of the program.
With funding in place, the next steps to getting the minor up and running will be to gain approval from individual campus committees, recruit students, run course sections online that can be accessed by students throughout the collaborating group, create brochures and a website, and establish the program advisory board, which also will help identify and organize the internship aspect of the project. Students can enroll now in the first two courses online — GSS 122: Science of Energy, Nassau County Community College, and ETCS 105: Career Discovery (with a focus on energy), New York Institute of Technology.
Pending approval, the minor will be open to all Stony Brook University students, with a goal of at least 25 students enrolled in the program the first year. Halada is working with the Teaching, Learning + Technology department to finalize details.
Halada said that once the minor is underway at all partner institutions, he hopes to expand the program, attracting further support through SUNY and state and federal grants.
“Our ultimate goal is to see that the program achieves its objectives in building the energy workforce and in enabling students to take advantage of opportunities in the regional energy industry, energy research enterprise, and in working with policymaking bodies,” Halada said. “It is our hope that this program eventually becomes a major.”
Click here for more information on the program.
The Long Island Alternative Energy Consortium is a public/private collaboration of academic institutions (two community colleges, two four-year technical colleges, a four-year liberal arts college, a private masters comprehensive institution and one public PhD-granting research university) dedicated to strengthening careers in the energy field by developing and increasing access to related academic programs and job opportunities.