The following was originally published by St. Petersburg College News.
At St. Petersburg College’s recent Electric Vehicle and Energy Event, expert presenters and exhibits were on hand to educate attendees on many topics related to energy.
The day started off with a big welcome from Dr. Sid Martin, SPC’s Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Arts Program Director. Martin gave a talk about the history and origins of energy to throngs of Pinellas County Middle Schoolers. Afterward, presenters were stationed in rooms where anyone interested could learn about topics such as solar energy, electric vehicles and electronics. After a break in the day, events resumed at 5 p.m. for folks who wanted to stop by after work.
Outside on the shady quad lawn, electric vehicles – from bikes to Teslas to a BMW i8 – were lined up with people stationed nearby to answer questions from visitors. At another booth, visiting students, like Tyler Maebi, lined up to take a turn to experience virtual reality.
Maebi came to the event with his fellow seventh graders from Clearwater Fundamental. He said he didn’t know what to expect from the field trip, but he was pleasantly surprised.
“It’s a cool way to learn how energy works and how it benefits us,” Maebi said.
Martin said that the event, which was planned to expose current and future SPC students to new engineering arenas, was funded by a grant from Duke Energy via the SPC Foundation, which allowed funds to raise awareness of careers in energy.
“SPC wants to be in the E-vehicles arena, so this event brings focus to electric vehicles and ties in some of the programs we offer,” Martin said. “Anyone working on these e-vehicles in the future will need to know how to work with a lot of voltage, which is something we teach in our engineering technology courses.”
Martin said SPC hopes to add some new offerings in the energy field, like power engineering, certification courses, electric vehicle technology and solar programs. SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams was on site during the morning session, checking in with the visiting middle-schoolers, as well as checking out the flashy e-vehicles on display. She said the event was a great way to teach the ways of the future.
“We are hoping to help people understand the future and the opportunities e-vehicles present,” Williams said. It’s a sign of the times – alternative forms of energy are where we’re going, and SPC is happy to be a part of it.”