Program works to inspire student interest in science and technology careers
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Power & Light is putting power behind its new energy camp for middle school students. Driven by a need for more job-ready candidates in power and energy fields, KCP&L is hoping to inspire more young people to become excited about science and engineering. KCP&L’s Get Into Energy Camp runs Aug. 2-4 on the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus.
“Most middle school students are unaware of the variety of jobs available to them in the utility industry or at a company like KCP&L,” said Sarah Whitman, manager of technical training at KCP&L. “We wanted to create a fun, interactive summer camp where they could learn about the basics of creating energy, as well as get a first-hand look at how energy gets delivered to their homes and communities.”
The camp was designed with KCP&L trainers and UMKC faculty, who will lead students through hands-on experiments that visually demonstrate the magic of magnetism and physics.
“Electricity is pretty amazing, especially when kids can be a part of creating that energy,” said Mike Kelly, adjunct instructor in the School of Computing and Engineering. “We start with the basics of magnetism and by the end of the three-day camp, they will be building circuits, a simple motor and home-made speakers.”
Bob Riggs, instructor and outreach coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences‘ Department of Physics, will demonstrate the power of energy and electromagnetism with an explosive “can crusher,” and other faculty and engineering students from the School of Computing and Engineering will assist as students rotate through different labs and activities.
“Hosting these students on the UMKC campus is a great way to introduce them to the field of engineering and give them the chance to see what a college campus is like,” said Kevin Truman, dean of the School of Computing and Engineering. “We are excited to partner with KCP&L to pilot the energy camp this summer and hope to see it grow along with other summer programs that get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”
Also supporting the camp is the recently-formed KC STEM Alliance, an independent initiative based at UMKC. Its mission is to inspire more students to pursue careers in STEM and build a robust workforce for the region.
“Businesses in this region, like KCP&L, are very concerned about the growing shortage of STEM professionals, especially in engineering and technology,” said Laura Loyacono, director of the KC STEM Alliance. “They understand the need to invest more resources into developing a pipeline of future workers that can meet workforce demands.”
“The partnership between KCP&L; UMKC; Kansas City, Missouri School District; and the KC STEM Alliance is a perfect example of the way we can all work together to address a common problem,” said Truman, who was instrumental in starting the KC STEM Alliance with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “We hope to see many more partnerships like this that can benefit our kids and the region.”
About Kansas City Power & Light:
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Great Plains Energy Incorporated (NYSE: GXP) is the holding company of Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company, two of the leading regulated providers of electricity in the Midwest. Kansas City Power & Light Company and KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company use KCP&L as a brand name. More information about the companies is available at www.greatplainsenergy.com or www.kcpl.com.
About the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering:
Located in one of the nation’s largest engineering communities, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering is Kansas City’s only university with ABET-accredited engineering, computer science and information technology degree programs.
SCE’s internationally-recognized faculty prepare students for today’s competitive job market by providing a curriculum that includes the latest technology and business trends, as well as a comprehensive education in each field’s theory and fundamental practice. Our classes also build bridges to the professional world by partnering with local companies, organizations and engineers. To learn more about SCE, visit http://sce.umkc.edu/.
About the KC STEM Alliance:
The KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business partners and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community. The Alliance supports area STEM programs, including Project Lead the Way and FIRST, coordinates related research and program evaluation as well as facilitating school and industry partnerships. The Alliance supports efforts that provide a solid foundation of STEM education for all students, regardless of race, gender or economic status; thereby increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of job-ready candidates for local STEM employers and advancing economic development and progress in our community. To learn more about the KC STEM Alliance, visit www.kcstem.org.
The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit www.umkc.edu. You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.