Colorado Energy Day is Just Around the Corner

Energy Day is Saturday, September 22 from 11 to 4 at East High School in Denver!!!

But wait, what the heck is Energy Day?

Well, this free family event started in 2011 in Houston to show students just what it meant to have a job in the energy industry. Instead of the book work that students typically think of, we wanted to showcase fun experiments, neat exhibits, and fun ways to look at science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) subjects, much of which is shown through the lens of the latest tech. Since then, Energy Day has become one of the premiere energy-focused family festivals in the nation.

Energy Day offers free fun for the whole family. Featuring interactive lessons and activities that are particularly valuable for K-12 students, families, and educators. Additionally, the festival has music, food, contests, and opportunities to interact with industry experts.

Consumer Energy Education Foundation (CEEF) and Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) serve as the principal organizers of the Energy Day Festival.

If you’ve never been a part of Energy Day – check out last year’s event here:

What’s Your Story?

We’re looking for stories from students and educators with regard to STEM (age and grade level don’t matter; we’re just looking for content). These stories could be in any form of media: videos (simple and filmed from a mobile phone is totally fine!), interviews, or written “biographical” type stories. We’ve even had some super creative students give us infographics and artwork (digital and traditional) to add visual elements. Please email content to us and include the featured person’s name (first names are fine for students), school, grade/age, and teacher’s name in the body of the email. I’ve provided some examples of content if that helps, but feel free to take a different approach.

  • What students love about STEM
    • Favorite STEM subjects and why
    • Favorite STEM project; what made it so great?
    • What do they want to be when they grow up? What path will they need/plan to take to get there?
    • How could they change the world through STEM?
    • Stories of people in STEM (educators or industry professionals) who have inspired them
    • What do they wish they could change about the way STEM subjects are taught in school and why?
  • What teachers love about STEM
    • Why they enjoy teaching it
    • The most fun lesson or project they’ve ever been involved in and why
    • How do they hope to inspire students to change the world
    • Stories of students who want to or could change the world through STEM
    • Stories of students who have inspired the teachers to continue to do the hardest job on the planet
  • Administrators’ stories about students and teachers changing the world through STEM and inspiring others in the process
  • Any STEM activities your community does outside of a traditional classroom setting
  • Anything your organization does that would seem outside of the box (something less traditional or non-stereotypical) that we could share with industry partners to show them more about how we’re preparing the next generation of STEM industry employees
  • Any cool experiments or STEM projects that have really spoken to your community (educators, students, and parents)…we LOVE these!

An Interview with 2018 Science Fair Winner Kabir Jolly

We interviewed 2018 Science & Engineering Fair of Houston Winner Kabir Jolly, and he answered some of our questions about how he came to like STEM:

CEEF: Tell us a little about yourself (your name, age, grade level or job title/description, etc). Also share your favorite thing about STEM (why do you like it?).

KJ: My name is Kabir Jolly. I am 16 and a sophomore at The Academy of Science and Technology. My favorite thing about STEM is the multitude of solvable challenges that lie within this field. It gives people an opportunity to practice and strengthen their problem solving skills to overcome any obstacles.

CEEF: How old were you when you realized you were interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)?

KJ: I have been interested in STEM ever since I was around 10 years old in 4th grade.

CEEF: What would you say to a young student who doesn’t like STEM?

KJ: I would tell them to keep exploring STEM. Since they are young, they have not been exposed to the numerous facets of this field. I encourage them to keep looking because there is a part of STEM for everyone.

CEEF: Did you have any teacher(s) who mentored you or inspired you to pursue STEM?

KJ: My elementary school teacher, Mrs. Brock, was very influential in inspiring me to pursue STEM. The engaging activities and experiments that left our 3rd grade class in awe played a big factor in my continued interest. In the past 2 years, my school’s headmaster, Dr. Caffery, has been very influential as well. She provides a lot of support and feedback, which has been invaluable for science fairs, and motivating for continuing STEM in college and beyond.

CEEF: What are you currently working on that involves STEM?

KJ: My science fair project that tackles the food waste problem using an app-based service is something that I am working on that involves STEM. It actually includes every aspect of the acronym: I conducted intensive research about the problem (science), I used databases and simulations to increase functionalities of my project (technology), I programmed and developed an application (engineering), and I used math to optimize user time and payments (mathematics).

CEEF: What have been some of your biggest challenges in your academic pursuits? What have you done to overcome them?

KJ: For the most part, I have enjoyed my academic pursuits. However, one big challenge I am currently facing is deciding between fields of interest or potential career parths when I enjoy both equally. Although it is definitely early to make a decision like this, I want to focus more time on one area. My plan to overcome this is to explore both a little, because I do not want to limit myself to one area. Once I understand all the aspects I can potentially dive into in each of these areas, I will be able to make an informed decision.

CEEF: Where do you see yourself in 10 years (and even in 20 years)? What path do you plan to take in order to accomplish those goals?

KJ: In the future, I hope to combine my fields of interest to start a successful business that uses software or an invention as an integral part of the company. I plan to learn a lot in entrepreneurship, as well as engineering/computer science to be able to accomplish these goals.

CEEF: How could you help others to get involved in STEM?

KJ: Helping others get involved in STEM, in my opinion can be done through a lot of outreach. Whether it is altering curriculum at schools, or holding events similar to Energy Day, I feel that making people (especially young children) aware of the fun behind STEM is integral to getting them involved in this area.

We look forward to keeping up with Kabir as he pursues his interests in STEM!

How To Be a Mentor

Webster defines a mentor as an experienced and trusted adviser. Did/do you have one? Most of us would answer yes. Think about the importance of that person in your life. Now think about how you could be that person to someone else.

Some may think they are not qualified to be a mentor, but trust me, you are. And you are needed! Mentors can be different things to different people; it’s about creating relationships, and we can all do that.

Texas Girls Collaborative Project has partnered with Nepris and others to create a site for people to come together for STEM volunteering purposes (think match.com for STEM). Check out Texas STEM Connections to see how easy it is to get involved and change a young person’s life!

Students Can Change the World!

At CEEF, we want to empower students to change the world through STEM, and we need your help! We want to motivate and inspire students like these.


As part of a Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition, students from Denton, Texas came up with a solution for people displaced by a natural disaster.

Robert Garcia, from Denton Independent School District (ISD), and Charla Marchuk, from FEMA Region 6,
presented in person about a K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Collaboration, along with
two of Mr. Garcia’s students. Their interest lies in further integrating STEM and Geographical Information Systems
(GIS) into the practice of emergency management. Mr. Garcia’s students were initially involved in a project partnership with Samsung to create the Critical Adaptable Shelter for Assistance (CASA) de Samsung, a short-term shelter to be used in disaster relief. To create such shelter, they reached out to local meteorologists, the American Red Cross, FEMA, and an architect. Importantly, the students designed the shelter to fit the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for the elderly and disabled, who are often the most vulnerable after disasters.

The Importance of a Mentor

Each year as part of our Energy Day Academic Program (EDAP), we award students for their accomplishments in STEM. What will our future look like without these students? Many students never even attempt to enter these competitions because they don’t know where to begin. These students will greatly impact our future, so we need to invest in them now.

We’ve all heard famous people thank their mentors, and most of us can certainly remember at least one person in our lives who inspired us to take a chosen path in life. But have you ever considered being someone else’s mentor? Before you start objecting that you can’t, I am only too aware that this may seem a daunting task, what with the responsibility and the time required. But just for a minute or two, think about the alternative. What if no one sacrificed his or her time to be a mentor?

I have often wondered what my life would be like if I’d had a mentor from a STEM field because you see, I am a classic story of what happens when one doesn’t have a mentor.

I have always been good at Math and Science. During high school, my interest in chemistry and physics was sparked. While taking chemistry, we had a (female) engineer from Dow Chemical come talk to us, and after listening to her, I knew I wanted to be a chemical engineer. The next year I took physics, and I fell in love. I loved making things; I loved tinkering and figuring out what made things work. I loved the application of mathematics; finally there was something to apply it to! I decided then to attend Texas A&M and get a degree in Engineering.

My first year there, I took all of the necessary math, science, and engineering courses. While they were not easy, and they were taught very differently (as boring lecture classes) than the classes I loved in high school, I wasn’t actually discouraged by this. I wasn’t even discouraged by the fact that I was probably one of only three females in my classes. In fact, strangely enough, I never even thought about that until later in life when it was brought to my attention. None of these things bothered me, yet I did not pursue an engineering degree. Why?

I have a very outgoing personality; I’m extremely social, and I like to talk. In fact, apparently I was so social that it made some of my classmates uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that I was repeatedly told “Shut up; you talk too much”. That in and of itself, however, is not what discouraged me. What really changed my decision was this: I imagined that since so many of my classmates expressed this to me, most engineers probably felt this way, and I didn’t want to pursue a job in an environment that felt obstructive to me rather than constructive. So I changed my major…to Psychology.

Looking back, I honestly believe that if I’d had a mentor, someone to guide me and talk about these things with me, that maybe I wouldn’t have changed my path. Being a mentor is sometimes just about being a face and a personality that students can connect with an industry or a job. We need to break down the stereotypes and show students all of the different kinds of people and jobs that make up STEM industries.

Will you change the perception? Will you be a mentor? Make a difference now!

Training & Professional Development for STEM Teachers

Occupations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related fields are some of the fastest growing and best paid in the world. The STEM workforce is broad and complex, and it touches every aspect of our economy. Even many non-STEM jobs require technical proficiency, such as basic software skills. With the growing need for these skills in both technical and non-technical occupations, it is more important now than ever to ensure that students are properly prepared to succeed in these fields. One of the most important components of students’ success in these subjects is high-quality science and math teachers, but finding, recruiting, and retaining these teachers is one of the greatest challenges our nation faces today.

Most people can recall at least one teacher who was able to motivate students and build interest in a subject. This usually requires a teacher who challenges the class to use critical thinking and is able to relate the concepts of the lesson to real world experiences. Such high-quality teaching can have lasting effects on students. Educators who are able to provide a solid STEM foundation through well-rounded curriculum and engaging classroom activities may help spark an interest in STEM at an early age that can last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, there is an extreme lack of trained and qualified science and math teachers in the U.S. It is estimated that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, and between 40 and 50 percent quit within five years. Of the active teachers, roughly 30 percent of chemistry and physics teachers in public high schools did not major in these fields and have not earned a certificate to teach those subjects, and more than two thirds of middle school math teachers are not qualified to teach the subject. If a teacher lacks the knowledge and capabilities required to teach a subject, it can be difficult for students to understand the concept, likely resulting in a loss of confidence and interest in that field.

State and federal policymakers have made efforts in recent years to create programs that help recruit and prepare effective STEM teachers, but this is a challenging undertaking. President Obama’s 100Kin10 coalition unites the nation’s top academic institutions, nonprofits, foundations, companies, and government agencies to train and retain 100,000 excellent STEM teachers within the decade. Already, more than 150 foundations, companies, and others have come together to lead 100Kin10, raising over $30 million, but there is still a long way to go, and a successful program demands that leaders from every sector take action and spread the word.

Additionally, state legislators such as Rep. Dwayne Bohac and Rep. Bobby Guerra of Texas have introduced bills recognizing the importance of certification and professional development for public school teachers, but these programs need to extend beyond the subject of computer science to provide training, professional development, and mentorships in all STEM fields.

Elected officials, business leaders, and educators must continue working together to provide STEM teachers and prospective teachers with the tools they need to successfully teach STEM subjects and motivate students to follow career paths in these fields. Students need teachers who are capable and knowledgeable, so it is critical that we work together to create programs that attract, train, and retain talented math and science teachers. If we are able to improve the quality of STEM education in the U.S., our students will be better prepared for the workforce, and the ability of the U.S. to compete in a 21st Century technology-intensive, global economy will be strengthened.

Written by Kathleen van Keppel

STEM Summit

STEM summit meant to stimulate student interest in science-oriented career paths

A line-up that included employment specialists, employers and educators analyzed the need to prepare America’s youth for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) during a March 20 summit conference hosted by the Northeast Pennsylvania Manufacturers and Employers Association.

Participants learned that an abundance of STEM-related job openings — including those in the natural-gas industry — are not being filled due lack of workers with adequate STEM skills…read more