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The April 2022 edition of the RWFI E-Note Monthly, the newsletter of NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI), highlights funding opportunities for advancing undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This month’s edition focuses on the NSF’s Future of Manufacturing program to support fundamental research and education of a future workforce to overcome scientific, technological, educational, economic and social barriers, and  catalyze new production capabilities.
1st). Joanna T, George Washington Elem, G1.jpg (4032×3024) (doe.gov)
In celebration of Earth Day, which is observed today, April 22, NETL proudly announces the winners of its annual Earth Day Poster Contest. This year’s contest drew approximately 1,130 entries from elementary students (grades 1-5) at schools near NETL’s sites in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who used their creativity and imaginations to showcase their favorite ways to protect the environment. This year, students were asked to design their posters around the theme, “What Will You Do to Stop Climate Change?” NETL is proud to share the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place winning entries at each grade level. Click here to see the winning posters.  Involving children in activities that center around the environment embodies the message of Earth Day while encouraging creative expression and the development of an early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Image of a cartoon sunset and the phrase 'Sunrise to Sunset'
In celebration of Earth Day 2022, NETL will join with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) other national laboratories for a daylong showcase of the department’s commitment to the planet and research being pursued to reach a sustainable energy future. National Lab Earth Day will be a virtual “sunrise-to-sunset” event that will begin on the East Coast and conclude on the West Coast by highlighting all 17 DOE national laboratories through tours, activities, short talks and panels designed to provide engaging experiences and promote the laboratory complex. NETL’s contribution to National Lab Earth Day will be a virtual tour across the Lab’s facilities in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At these sites, award-winning scientists and engineers are striving to ensure affordable, abundant and reliable energy while developing technologies to manage carbon emissions and enable environmental sustainability.
Ale Hakala speaking to a class of Charlotte Latin Seniors
NETL’s Ale Hakala, Ph.D., recently spoke with seniors in the AP Environmental Science class at Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, North Carolina, highlighting her career as an energy researcher focused on environmental sustainability. Laura Helsabeck, Ph.D., who teaches the class, invited Hakala, who is currently an NETL senior fellow leading the Lab’s geological and environmental systems research, to share her perspective on issues surrounding natural gas and carbon storage. “Laura and I were in the same research group during graduate school at Ohio State, and have maintained a close personal friendship over the years, so it was great to reconnect with her on a technical level to help with her teaching section focused on climate change,” Hakala said. “And it was an honor to speak to her students and help them see that there are creative solutions to carbon management beyond what they may have learned in their textbook.”
Winners of the 2022 WPASB
North Allegheny Senior High School Team One and Marshall Middle School Team One, both from Wexford, claimed victory at the 31st annual Western Pa. Bowl (WPASB), held Feb. 26 and March 5, 2022, in a virtual setting. Forty-one teams from 27 high schools and 30 teams representing 17 middle schools throughout Western Pennsylvania participated in the competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).  The winners of the 2022 WPASB competition will represent Western Pennsylvania in DOE’s National Science Bowl scheduled for April 29-May 3 which will also be in a virtual format.  The WPASB tested students’ knowledge of math and science topics. High school teams competed Saturday, Feb. 26, followed by middle school students a week later. This year’s Science Bowl continued with the altered format that went in effect last year; teams competed individually instead of head-to-head with the highest scoring teams moving up. The final winning teams in the two events will compete in the National Science Bowl.
2021 Womens History Month
March is Women’s History Month, providing NETL with a prime opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women from across the Lab who are advancing research to mitigate climate change, discovering clean energy technologies and leading teams of research scientists and engineers as they contribute to the legacy of women who have served as pioneers in their fields. Throughout the month, NETL will feature some dedicated scientists and professionals and highlight the important roles they play in leading projects throughout the Lab. Watch for Women’s History Month posts on NETL social media. In addition to their accomplishments, those profiled will discuss the progress that has been made to ensure women are fairly and equally represented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. These talented individuals also will share how closing the gender gap in STEM careers builds diversity and inclusion, which are essential components to cultivate workplace environments where different viewpoints and perspectives are needed to find solutions to challenging issues.
The tutelage and guidance provided by NETL’s Ruishu Wright as she mentors research associate Abhishek Venketeswaran
The tutelage and guidance provided by NETL’s Ruishu Wright as she mentors research associate Abhishek Venketeswaran demonstrates how the Lab is working to apply new concepts to the energy sector while fostering the careers of tomorrow’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialists. Venketeswaran grew up in India and developed a passion for mathematics at an early age, which prompted him to pursue engineering. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras. Venketeswaran went on to earn his doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University at Buffalo before joining NETL’s internship program in September 2019 as a post-doctoral research associate administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).
RWFI E-note Monthly
The February 2022 edition of the RWFI E-Note Monthly, the newsletter of NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI), will include details on funding opportunities for advancing undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education from the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is vital for ensuring the growth of a future work force. The NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate seeks to significantly enhance its support for research, development, implementation, and assessment to improve STEM education at the nation’s two-year colleges. NSF encourages bold, potentially transformative projects that address immediate challenges facing STEM education at two-year colleges. These projects may also anticipate new structures and functions of the STEM learning and teaching enterprise. 
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WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced two funding opportunities, totaling $6.1 million, for student training and research on remediating legacy pollution from coal-based electricity generation and using carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) to generate low-carbon power. One funding opportunity will provide $3.1 million to support DOE’s University Coal Research (UCR) program, and the other opportunity will provide $2.2 million in support of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program. Moreover, up to $800,000 in additional funding related to emissions control is available across both programs. This funding will support up to 20 student engineers and scientists working over 2-3 years on research projects related to technologies critical to advancing the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  
Most lunchboxes contain fuel for the body, but those developed by #NETL and its partners are packed with supplies to build lava lamps, solar ovens and other energy projects to interest students in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
NETL collaborated with education leaders in West Virginia and at the Columbus, Ohio-based Center of Science and Industry (COSI) to create and distribute “Learning Lunchboxes,” which include materials and a guide to complete five engaging hands-on STEM-related activities. “When students begin to learn about STEM subjects, it’s important for them to participate in active learning experiences. The energy kits in these lunchboxes build strong interest in STEM subjects by providing materials to complete exciting projects. This sets the stage for ongoing success in these areas and generates early interest in STEM-related careers,” said NETL’s Ken Mechling, coordinator, STEM Education & Outreach Program. An initial set of energy-themed Learning Lunchboxes was distributed in December at the Mountaineer Middle School in Morgantown, West Virginia. The distribution was part of a celebration to open the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Technical Assistance Center (TAC).