When Michelle Xue first participated in SunPower’s 2013 Summer Solar Energy Academy as a high school sophomore in San Ramon, Calif., she solidified her passion for sustainability.
In this intense 40-hour work-based summer program students learn how to become solar entrepreneurs. Coached by teachers and solar professionals, they learn the engineering, project management and economic aspects of designing a solar energy system. Using industry tools, they build and test mini solar systems. All of the activities contribute to the student teams’ capstone project, which is presented to a panel of judges on the final day.
Now a sophomore at Georgetown University, Xue continues to further her interest in sustainability both on and off campus. Since her first Solar Energy Academy, she has been hired as a teacher assistant and intern with the program, and each year she has taken on additional responsibilities. Last summer, Xue returned to work with SunPower at three of the four Bay Area Solar Energy Academies on the management team. This time she helped define, plan and manage the integration of sustainability practices and education for all participants. In this new role, Xue applied her passion for “green” practices and learned how to effectively implement ideas, honing her management and communication skills.
“You can’t teach others something you’re not passionate about…I’m really passionate about sustainability and using more renewable resources,” she says. “As long as I’m passionate I feel like I can continue to inspire students and other people to make a difference.”
Solar Schools Eligible for Solar Energy Academy
The Solar Energy Academy, offered to school districts that go solar with SunPower, is a flagship program of the SunPower Horizons™ Program, SunPower’s innovative science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational services.
More than 1,400 students and 86 teachers have participated since the summer academy was launched in 2010. This past summer students said highlights included learning about communicating, organizing, math computations, applied technology and understanding of workplace ethics, etiquette and practices.
You can meet some of those students at SunPower’s booth this Thursday and Friday at the California School Boards Association’s 2016 Annual Education Conference and Trade Show in San Francisco and hear about their experiences learning about the solar industry. We hope to see you there!
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