Project Infinite Green, a group of 30, 7th and 8th grade students from Lemont, Illinois, visited the Kamat Lab on April 20th as part of the students’ research and creation of a green business plan. Students learned about “Solar Paint” being researched at Notre Dame, they listened to presentations about solar energy from Dr. Kamat and participated in hands-on activities in the lab. The activities taught students about the laser table and sputter-coater, optical spectroscopy/absorbance/fluorescence of chlorophyll, and solar cell characterization.
After visiting Kamat Labs, students toured Stinson-Remick Hall where they learned about solar panels and clean rooms.
While on the tour, some of the Notre Dame undergraduate engineering students did impromptu demos of their projects when they noticed the interested Junior High students. Catherine Greenspon sent this reply in a thank you letter to cSEND:
Our students were so taken by the labs that full imprints of their fingers and faces were left as a reminder of our group. They had so many questions. and you took the time to answer every one of them. Some of your students came out of the labs and chatted with our kids. I’m not sure what they said, but I did hear a lot of “Woah” and “I’m going to build one like that when I come here.” As 7th and 8th graders, this was most of the group’s first exposure to a college campus. The University of Notre Dame and cSEND have set the bar very high for all campus visits that follow. Your support and encouragement of STEM exploration will be hard to match.
Over the course of 25 weeks, these students met after school to investigate renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and the anthropogenic impacts of these energy sources.
The students completed capstone projects that included a green business plan using various energy sources. The solar team created a plan that included the use of solar islands.
The students were invited after corresponding with Kamat labs that were acting as mentors to the students on this project.
Due to the success of Project Infinite Green, the students were invited to Washington D.D. to present their green business plans to Congressman Lipinski and Senator Durbin, as well as the STEM ED Caucus May 16-18.
If you are interested in participating in a Notre Dame lab tour, please contact Jenny Frech firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.