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Inaugural Purdue Energy Camp tackles nation's energy future

Three dozen students and teachers are at Purdue this week learning about the latest developments in energy technology and policy.

They are on campus as part of the first ever Purdue Energy Camp.

The goal is to enhance their knowledge about recent changes and the future of the issue.

Pankaj Sharma is the director of the Purdue Energy Center.

He hopes the 36 camp participants will grow into leaders for solving the nation’s energy challenges.

"I think we really want to tell the students and teachers, 'here are the challenges,' " he said. 

"I think teachers, when they are talking to their students, teaching these things, I think they need to integrate some of these challenges, so students have a better feel for some of the challenges.  So, when they come to Purdue or other universities they should really be thinking 'there are problems, I can go and start solving them.'"

Ethan Stelts is a senior at Westfield High School.

He says the information learned at the camp is more detailed and presented at a higher level than what he receives through his regular class curriculum.

"After every speech we are walking back to the classroom we are like, WHOA.  Because they drop a knowledge bomb on you every time," he said.  "Everybody feels like there is so much more to learn and appreciate than what they originally thought there could be."

Nancy Franke is a 6th grade teacher at St. Peter’s Lutheran School in Columbus, Indiana.

She says the camp provides a better understanding of the subject and how to spark interest in it with her students.

"There is so many angles you can look at, the economics, political.  The politics that fall into play with our embracing energy in our country is just mind boggling to realize just all the different aspects out there," she said.  "This (camp) will just encourage to think ahead and into the future."

The students and teachers are attending the camp for free.  It’s being paid for by corporate sponsors and the Purdue Energy Center.

Most of those in attendance are from Indiana, but Sharma hopes to expand it more regionally and nationally in the coming years.