By: Cassandra Sandoval, Hanford Sentinel
LEMOORE — High school engineering students received a hands-on learning experience about solar energy this past week.
Seventeen Lemoore High School students participated in a one-week summer camp called SunPower Solar Energy Academy. The statewide academy is provided by SunPower Corp. This is the first time the Lemoore Union High School District is offering the camp to its engineering program students.
“Basically what we are trying to do is give students more real-life world experience,” said Career Education Project Coordinator Faith Faria from the Kings County Office of Education.
The camp was held Monday through Friday at Lemoore Middle College High School and students worked with professionals, collaborated on projects, developed sales pitches and took field trips.
Seven electricians, carpenters and engineers worked with the students during the week.
On Monday, students went to the Southern California Edison Energy Education Center in Tulare and learned how solar panels work.
Later in the week students were split into groups requiring them to form their own solar companies. Each student had a different role in the group such as a project manager or a financial officer and was given a pretend client they had to sell solar panels to.
On Friday, students presented their business proposals to a panel that consisted of their teachers and district officials.
Sophomore student Dakota Macedo said her group had to learn how much solar panels cost and where would be the most effective place to put them on a roof.
Dakota said the process was a lot of work, but she learned a lot.
“I just see it as a lot of fun,” she said. “You get to do hands-on work.”
Dakota said students are able to design different types of product like miniature cities in the school’s engineering classes. She said instructors gave them the tools they needed and students “run with it.”
“It’s not what you do in a regular classroom,” she said. “You get to use your hands.”
Dakota said she would like to see more females in the engineering field. So far, she said there are only four girls in the program with more than 20 students.
“Science and technology are usually more associated with men,” she said.
She said people in general can find the field intimidating.
“The kids seem to be really excited about [the academy],” said LHS engineering teacher Terry Boyer. “They are starting to understand how businesses come together.”
Boyer said the program is preparing students for college-level engineering and connecting them to people who work in the industry.
The engineering program started at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year along with the district’s education and agriculture design programs.
The district partnered with the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project to offer these classes which are connected with a statewide initiative called Linked Learning aimed to prepare students for college or a career.