Lifelong Learning

The past week has been very positive. I was able to collaborate more with the IBM Team again, and through that, we have a solid portal for students to access with a CSV download option. Next Friday, I plan to meet again to be trained on how to add new sites to the portal and to hopefully tweak the data stream a little more to include the array temperature instead of the ambient temperature.

In addition to this, the FREEDM and ASSIST Centers held a symposium for the REUs that participated at each center this summer. I was asked to also create a poster and present at this symposium in which a representative from NSF was in attendance. The benefit of creating this poster is that I was able to step back and streamline exactly what goals we are striving for to reinvigorate the GRIDc project. In addition to the lesson plans I am doggedly working on, GRIDc helps students to learn about renewable energy and to interpret data in the classroom which will help to prepare them for the future in such a data-rich world tackling so many environmental problems.

One other activity I had was visiting the Advanced Transportation Energy Center (ATEC) Lab, get a quick tour of the facility, and watch Dr. Pritchard and an REU work on the Vehicle Dynamometer. They overhauled the sensors on the Dyno so they were now looking as more pure data which will help them to analyze drivetrain systems for various vehicles. Two of the vehicles in the lab were a full electric Porsche Carrera convertible and the NC State EcoCar, a hybrid Chevy Malibu. I had worked with Dr. Pritchard in the past through the EV Challenge when my students and I converted a Mazda RX-7 into a full EV, so this experience was very nostalgic, to be back in a lab, working on some cars.

Last, but certainly not least, was the Design Thinking workshop offered by IBM. This was a great professional development opportunity, not just to learn the concepts of design thinking from other perspectives and professionals at IBM, but also to network with other Kenan Fellows from previous classes. Though I use design thinking with my students in our activities and projects, we mainly look at it through the lens of an engineer trying to solve a problem. In this workshop, we were able to see that there is a much bigger picture to design thinking, primarily in seeing the overall problem through the lenses of each stakeholder.

All of these steps in the process of my experience through Kenan have reinforced the fact that we are all lifelong learners, that we should find something new each day that expands our horizons or gives us deeper insight to the topics that interest us.

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