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IGERT Excels at Community Outreach all year long!


Throughout the reporting year of this IGERT Annual report, we have managed to be involved in a wide number of outreach projects. This has involved numerous events and opportunities for us to spread both the word about the IGERT program AND, the importance of renewable energy. The success of the outreach program is such that we have started to be invited by numerous schools to do our ‘renewable energy’ activities at them. Many of the outreach activities have been listed under Outreach Achievements.

Perhaps the one that we are most proud of is that we will be featured in the Delaware News Journal (both online and in print). This has allowed us to have a more public face to the outreach that we are doing and hopefully we’ll get more schools interested in the work that we are doing.

In particular, the students seem to thoroughly enjoy being a part of these activities as it has allowed them to ‘reach out’ to the community and work with a range of audiences. Some students, in particular, need to be mentioned for their sterling work – Daniel Kasper, Erik Koepf, Meghan Schulz, Beth Cheney, Sarah Mastroianni and Keith Douglass. Cory Budischak (alongside the IGERT program coordinator) has taken the responsibility to lead the outreach committee and helps develop hands-on activities to take along to the different schools.

One key point about the activities are that they are inclusive and target a range of audiences. We also ensure that the activities adhere to State Education Standards. We are very fortunate that the IGERT is an educational grant (made possible through NSF) and allow us to expand the scientific literacy of all citizens.

Address Goals

The whole concept of outreach is so that it enables the general public to become more in tune and aware of things that are taking place in a particular area of interest. The IGERT in Solar Hydrogen from Sustainable Energy is trying to highlight the importance of ensuring we develop the scientific and engineering knowledge base of our audiences.

If we focus on working with a younger audience our hope is that this will infiltrate and the desire for the information to be learned will be increased. The fact that we are also working with a wide range of abilities and age groups allows the IGERT to also expand the scientific literacy of all citizens. In particular, our work at both The College School and the Early Learning Center has ensured that we develop lessons and activities that are inclusive as some of the participants have had autism, downs and ADHD.

Depending on the activity that we are doing, (especially the ones where the public attends) often the students are given the opportunity to interact with adults and scientists in the energy field. To this end, we have developed informational sheets regarding energy efficiency and stimulus package information in Delaware. This has allowed the IGERT to emphasize areas of opportunity and potential benefit to the general public.

The students have also appreciated the fact that they have been able to actively be engaged in research that is considered fundamental to improving the quality of people’s lives in the United States. Being able to share this with members of the community has been a worthwhile experience as it makes the purpose of their research seem so much more relevant and important.

Most recently, we have been featured in both the Delaware Online News Journal and the printed version on April 13th, 2009 (accessible on has enabled us to spread the word about our outreach program.