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Programs for Students and Teachers

NREL's Workforce Development and Education Programs promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using renewable energy as the vehicle to capture student and teacher interest. Engaging students in science and engineering activities opens the door for both study and career opportunities in these disciplines.

A photo of students competing in NREL's Solar and Lithium Ion model car races in Colorado.

STEM Education Programs

Science educators provide hands-on experiences for students in grades 4-12 to learn about renewable energy and energy efficiency. Learn more about these programs held at NREL's Education Center. Several educational resources are also available for students.

Collegiate Wind Competition

NREL hosts the annual Collegiate Wind Competition, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This competition challenges teams of undergraduate students from a variety of programs to offer a unique solution to a complex wind energy challenge. The competition provides each student with real-world experience as they prepare to enter the wind industry workforce.

DOE National Science Bowl

The DOE National Science Bowl is a fun, fast-paced academic tournament and hydrogen fuel cell car competition that tests the brainpower of middle and high school teams on science and math topics.

Model Car Competition

NREL's model car competition is a classroom-based, hands-on educational program for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. Student teams apply math, science, and creativity to construct solar and battery-powered model cars. The vehicles are raced in interscholastic competitions hosted within their schools, states, or regions. 

Programs for Teachers

Teachers are offered research and development opportunities to enhance their content knowledge, instructional strategies, and leadership abilities. Learn more about NREL's programs for teachers.

Wind for Schools

NREL manages DOE's Wind for Schools project with a mission to develop a future wind energy workforce. College students are encouraged to join Wind Application Centers to serve as project consultants for small wind turbine installations at rural elementary and secondary schools. More than 145 systems have been installed at host schools across 12 states.