When high school freshman Megha Jain was in the eighth grade, she designed a device for toilet tanks that could save Californians millions of gallons of water.
High schooler Calli Tullis, an aspiring meteorologist, wants to explore how weather patterns impact renewable energy.
Both students brought their interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) to a recent Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth program and attended a workshop hosted by Southern California Edison.
Tullis admits she never gave electricity much thought before the workshop.
“You know in theory how it works, but I really got to see the inner workings and all the different components of the system just so I can get enough power to turn on my TV,” she said.
Tullis and Jain are both part of the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth. The Center for Talented Youth's Family Academic Programs partner with universities and institutions to present academically advanced students with the opportunity to enhance their educational experiences through a variety of workshops ranging from robotics to biotechnology.
This is the second year SCE has supported the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth. Last year, Edison International, SCE’s parent company, provided $11.8 million in grants to support STEM education in local communities.
Students and parents gathered at SCE’s Advanced Technology Labs, where they learned about how the utility is using innovative technology to provide clean and reliable energy to its customers. SCE engineers led the students on tours of the facilities and conducted demonstrations of the technology and equipment used in their work. The students later worked in groups to apply their learnings to modeling exercises on their laptops.
“We want to show them how the technologies work and how much goes into energy generation,” said Alexsandra Guerra, one of SCE’s Advanced Technology engineers who participated in the workshop. “We want them to understand that the world is changing and we’re changing with it. These are the skills that we need in the future to change the world of energy.”
In addition to developing a deeper understanding of electricity, Guerra hopes the workshop helped the students envision a future career in engineering.
“I hope this workshop made it real to them. It’s good for them to understand what the life of an engineer really looks like, what the work entails and to get them excited about the opportunity,” Guerra said.
At the event, Tullis learned about the technology behind solar panels and how they are able to power homes in the evening.
For Jain, the workshop’s renewable energy focus strengthened her passion for environmental sustainability and reaffirmed her interest in working to fight climate change.
“I realized a few years ago that our environment has been heading in the wrong direction for decades and we really need to go on the right path to fix this,” said Jain. “Having a workshop in renewable [energy], especially at Southern California Edison, is a really great opportunity.”
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