It’s that time of year again…graduation time, and a good time to look at where our young adults might turn for a meaningful education and career.
Since the Jerry Sandusky scandal, Penn State University has suffered. But things are changing, for the better. While attending my daughter’s boyfriend’s graduation a few weeks ago I realized that PSU has much going for it, despite all the negative publicity. Of course Sandusky deserves to be where he is–in jail for a long time. Much good is going on here at the school’s main campus as well as its satellite compuses.
At Penn State Hazleton, one of the satellite campuses, there is a program not found at the main campus or anywhere else in the university system. That program is a BS program in Alternative Energy and Power Generation. According to the Penn State Hazleton newsletter “Insight Outlook”, students intrigued by harvesting energy from the wind and sun are drawn to the Hazleton campus and to the instructor, Dr. Wes Grebski, an associate professor of engineering, spearheading the program he developed.
Grebski developed the program to meet future demands for power sources that won’t run low or add to greenhouse gases. To craft the program, which provides students with strong backgrounds in electrical and mechanical engineering and prepares them to work at traditional power companies or firms designing new power sources, Grebski drew on the expertise of alumni and business leaders.
Recently the alumni returned for a reunion and students presented summaries of their projects, research they’ve designed to help local industries. “We solicit something that they can use, something a student can design to make a difference,” Grebski told “Insight Outlook”.
At the reunion was one of Grebski’s former students, Adebayo Adejare. “Focus the Nation”, the country’s leading clean energy youth empowerment organization, honored Adejare in 2011 as a “Young Clean Energy Leader”. For more on “Focus the Nation” click here.
Since 2008, “Focus the Nation” has helped more than 300,000 young people embrace the challenges, excitement and realities of moving their communities toward clean energy solutions. The organization’s vision is a sustainable energy world and its mission is to build the innovative workforce that accelerates our country’s transition to sustainable energy.
Now that’s something to cheer about, isn’t it? You bet!
Adejare was honored for his research on generating natural gas from waste in anaerobic digesters.
“Sustainability really is about the future. It’s about making a world we’d love to live in. The actions we do now have a large impact,” Adejare told Stefanie Tomlinson of Penn State News. “To have a cleaner tomorrow we have to make the right choices by conserving resources today. It’s not just for you, it’s for your family, your kids, and grandkids.”
Wondering what your college-bound son or daughter, undecided about what to study, should select as his/her major? Why not look for a course such as the one springboarding Adejare to higher places?
According to Adejare, engineering science and mechanics provides a well-rounded education, since students get a little bit of experience in all the different sciences. “This helps a great deal,” he told Tomlinson, “because my focus is unique — I want to work with solar panel technology, increase solar panel efficiency, and make the panels more mainstream with better designs. I’d also like to try to make solar panels out of less conventional materials like plastic.”
According to Focus the Nation’s Jessica Early, the organization is intensely focused on collaboration, on energy solutions and building the talent pipeline our nation needs to accelerate our transition to sustainable energy.
“Every day we work with rising young clean energy leaders on campuses across the country to enhance their leadership skills, energy literacy and transferrable career skills. We are honored to do the work that we do, but we aren’t doing it alone. Our students receive weekly support from our Leadership Development Coordinators but their path into leadership roles, creating energy solutions and accessing careers in energy is also guided by our network of established energy professionals,” Early wrote. “Our students look to professionals working in the energy industry to learn from their experiences, understand the complexities of our energy system, and begin framing their focus on their future career path. Offering guidance to students passionate about energy solutions can take the form of an informational interview, an ongoing e-mentorship or through internship opportunities. Energy industry professionals can offer an entry point into addressing the real world complexities of transitioning to sustainable energy.”
Simply, the future is NOW, so help steer your people into a career that can not only support a family, but help build a sustainable future for everyone.
Story by Robert Gluck