VSI – Teaching Teachers

Last week,  I had an incredible time interacting with K-8 teachers from across Vermont and sharing the science and engineering of “Energy”. I have been fortunate to serve as the “Engineering Instructor” at this Vermont Science Initiative (VSI)’s annual Science and Engineering Academy, the past two years. This week long workshop to help teachers make sense of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the context of science and engineering is a valuable resource to us all and our kids in these classrooms.

We built water filters based on the USEPA model last year.IMG_1274

This year, we built Archimedes screws and a micro-hydro-generator as the engineering design challenge activities. I think everyone’s arms were sore with the “pumping” and clothes and shoes wet as the turbine turned, the voltmeter lit up, and gave us enough data to run through some calculations.


I learnt a great deal from my fellow instructors, Ben Luce of Lyndon State College (and Physics/Energy guru in general), all my wonderful colleagues (now friends really) at the VSI and newfound partners in the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP).

When pedagogy, science and engineering join hands, I think that is some powerful educational “energy”!

EWRI Congress 2014

I finally had an opportunity to attend my first Environmental Water Resources Institute (EWRI) Congress in Portland, OR. I presented a poster with Amanda Kubes from Florida State University on the differences in onsite wastewater treatment systems (such as septic systems in Leon County, Florida and Washington County, VT.

In addition to trying to sit in on every presentation on LID and GI type presentations, the highlight was of course being able to cheer on Susan Limberg, who pIMG_2362laced first in the technical student paper contest in the undergraduate category, and did a fantastic job presenting her research on pervious concrete from Summer 2013. 

Of course, we also enjoyed the city of roses, by visiting the Rose Garden, eating Portland’s amazing food, and finding pink flamingos at the Portland Zoo during the Congress’s Key Social Event.
IMG_2457 Finally, the Sustainability tour through Portland’s many green projects had us walking on green roofs, gazing upon green walls, and enjoying many different rain gardens.

Engineering at NU