Institutes & Research

NSF-RET

NSF I-READ RET


RET Site: Integrating Data-driven research in Renewable Energy Across Disciplines (I-READ)
(Award #2206864)

Part 1 (Nontechnical description of the project):

The overarching goal of this Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site at Texas A&M University-Kingsville is to create a dynamic multidisciplinary environment and a Community of Practice where research, education and outreach are integrated to provide middle and high school (Grades 6-12) STEM teachers with opportunities to conduct authentic cutting-edge research and develop a series of innovative curricular modules for promoting renewable energy and data science in South Texas. A Community of Practice (CoP), where individuals share knowledge, learn together, and share common practices, will be established in this project. The project will bring together a very diverse population of teachers, teacher educators, researchers, industrial advisors, education and engineering graduate students around a shared goal of expanding and sharing knowledge on data-driven renewable energy. This RET site will facilitate the CoP to develop deep and rich understandings of data science and renewable energy as well as explore effective pedagogies to support middle and high school students’ learning in the field. With industrial advisors involved, this RET site will enrich the STEM research and education environment in South Texas through establishment of the CoP where laboratory research, classroom teaching, and real-world industry experiences are synergistically integrated. It is expected that the collaborative work of the CoP will enable the free flow of information, shared knowledge, and ongoing and engaging dialogue among all members. This RET site addresses the pressing challenges in data-driven renewable energy research and two important fields (renewable energy and data science) in Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills curriculum requirements. The RET site builds on a vision of grooming budding researchers and educators from underrepresented communities to embrace the challenge of data-driven renewable energy research and building future leaders who proactively contribute to the nation’s energy self-reliance agenda.

Part 2 (Technical description of the project):

Renewable energy research is a complex, multi-faceted theme where many disciplines interact to address different and sometimes contradictory issues. A data-driven research approach can expedite the technological advancement in renewable energy sector by utilizing the data available around the world. The objectives of this Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) site at Texas A&M University-Kingsville are to: 1) provide research opportunities on different facets of data-driven renewable energy research to middle and high school (Grades 6-12) STEM teachers, especially Hispanics, women, and/or teachers who were first generation college graduates; 2) increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing STEM majors and careers through a series of innovative curriculum development and implementation; and, 3) build a sustainable bond through the Community of Practice among university faculty, STEM teachers, researchers, community college faculty, graduate students and industries to accelerate STEM education in South Texas. This RET site focuses on data-driven renewable energy research that is a theme of local significance and global implications. The proposed research covers data collection, data analysis, data visualization and decision making in three major research areas: 1) Energy Harvesting, 2) Energy Utilization, and 3) Energy Policy and Its Impacts. Ten RET participants will be trained every year during six weeks of summer research in a collaborative group setting. The RET participants will tackle various topics of data-driven renewable energy research, interact with faculty and student mentors and industrial advisors, and develop a holistic systems’ perspective of renewable energy research and awareness about the importance of data science. The RET participants will learn the essentials of developing a research plan, and driving the project forward to achieve milestones. They will design a series of curricular modules based on their research with authentic mentorship from an education faculty, research mentors, and industrial advisors, and will use these curricular modules in their classrooms along with other academic year follow-up activities to inspire students’ interests in STEM.