URI junior receives national grant to teach sixth graders about alternative energy

Media Contact: Todd McLeish 874-7892

URI junior receives national grant
to teach sixth graders about alternative energy

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 5, 2002 — University of Rhode Island junior Katherine Manchester is one of eight college students in the country to receive the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Fellowship. The program aims to transform college campuses into models of sustainable society, while training a new generation of environmental leaders.

Manchester, a Randolph, Vt. resident, will receive $900 to develop a curriculum for sixth graders and teach them the economic and environmental benefits of alternative energy sources. She will make weekly visits to five sixth grade classes in North Kingstown and East Greenwich beginning in January and will lead students through a wide variety of hands-on energy activities.

The program will end with a daylong workshop at URI next spring when the students from all six classes work together on energy-related contests, view demonstrations of alternative energy sources, and create artistic interpretations of renewable energy.

One of the contests, to be coordinated by fellow URI student Adam Memon of Providence, will feature a model car race pitting one car powered by a hydrogen fuel cell against one powered by a miniature gasoline engine. Memon said the gasoline-powered car will start out running faster than the hydrogen-powered car, but the gasoline car will eventually run out of fuel and lose the race.

“I hope that my work with students will promote the use of alternative energy sources and get people thinking about the ways in which energy can be conserved,” said Manchester.

Manchester and Memon became interested in alternative energy last year at the University’s Honors Colloquium, “A Just and Sustainable Future.” They were especially inspired by a lecture by William McDonough, a leading architect and designer who is helping businesses implement measures that protect the environment while also saving them money.

Manchester learned of the fellowship opportunity through her involvement in the student organization Down to Earth, Up to Us, and became the first URI student chosen to receive the award. She secured additional funding for her project from Sun Power Electric and Shaws Supermarkets.

A civil engineering major, Manchester hopes to encourage other young women to get involved in math and science fields. “I hope that I can be a role model, while at the same time serve as an educating force both on campus and in the elementary school,” said Manchester.