Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) welcomed 7th and 8th grade students from Lemont to Washington today, congratulating them on the sustainable energy plans they presented to members of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Caucus as part of Project Infinite Green. Project Infinite Green is a new afterschool program that brings together energy experts from government and the private sector to teach students about renewable energy and help them to develop plans for its increased use. Joining Rep. Lipinski at the presentations were caucus co-chair Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD) and Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-13), both of whom serve with Lipinski on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
"As the co-chair of the STEM Education Caucus, I was really impressed by all the learning, thought, and effort that the students displayed in their presentations," Rep. Lipinski said. "It's bright, motivated kids like them that are going to help lead us toward the sustainable, low-cost energy economy of tomorrow. If our country and our children are going to compete and succeed in the high-tech, global economy, it is absolutely essential that we improve science, technology, engineering, and math achievement. To do that, we need to focus both on classroom education and on getting kids excited about STEM in other ways. Project Infinite Green deserves great credit for doing that with an innovative, collaborative approach. I applaud the students, teachers, parents, and mentors for their great work."
"We are honored that our students had this opportunity to present their energy-based business plans to members of Congress," said Catherine Greenspon, a Lemont community member and co-founder of Project Infinite Green. "We hope their presentations will spark innovative ideas on how to implement new energy technologies in our nation, and that it will help grow national interest in STEM education. I want to thank Congressman Lipinski for all his support and for making this event possible for our students."
The students' presentations focused on hydroelectric, nuclear, and solar energy use. Plans included oscillating water columns designed to harness wave power in states bordered by oceans, solar islands to assist solar generation in states that cannot use traditional solar farms, and a mobile application designed to increase nuclear awareness. The students were accompanied by teachers, parents, and mentors, including representatives from Argonne National Laboratory, CITGO, and Exelon.
Project Infinite Green was launched in October 2011 as a joint effort by community residents and teachers, government officials and corporate partners, to offer students in Lemont the opportunity to learn about the science and business of both non-renewable and renewable energy sources. Industry experts from government and private sector entities--includingthe U.S. Department of Energy, Navigant, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Exelon Nuclear, the Clean Energy Trust, Edison Mission Energy, and Argonne National Laboratory--have participated as mentors.
The bipartisan STEM Education Caucus was founded in 2005 to provide a forum for Congress and the science, education, and business communities to discuss challenges, problems, and solutions related to STEM Education. In addition to serving as co-chair of the STEM Education Caucus, Rep. Lipinski is the ranking member of the Research and Science Education Subcommittee. A former teacher, he is one of the few members of Congress with a degree in engineering.
"One of the biggest challenges we face is finding a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and develop energy sources that are not only sustainable but affordable," Rep. Lipinski said. "The more talented, motivated, and skilled young people we have who can lead the effort to overcome that challenge, the better off America will be."