2 Weeks / Noncredit

Renewable & Alternative Energy Engineering

Sat. July 28 & Sun. July 29 Mandatory Move-in & Orientation 

Class runs July 30 – August 10, 2018 


The Summer College Engineering program is one of SU’s premier summer programs for high school students. It combines a college-level introduction to engineering with study in related subjects. Explore the roles of creativity and problem-solving in the profession and learn the basic tools used in engineering.

Three two-week courses are offered for non-credit with topics on:

1) Civil & Environmental Engineering

2) Aerospace Engineering

3) Renewable & Alternative Energy Engineering

Choose to attend one, two or all three sessions!

Renewable & Alternative Energy Engineering

This course details the evolution of humans on the planet, their ever changing energy demands, and subsequent impact on the environment. Students will learn about the physics of energy, relationships of force, work and power, and associated units – Newtons, Joules, and Watts.

Non-renewable energy versus renewable energy are examined, as well as the need to address greenhouse gases and consequent climate change.

Detailed sessions on Hydro, Solar, Geothermal and Wind systems will be presented.

Lab work includes the chemical reactions, and associated energy, of hydrogen fuel propelled vehicles. Small scale solar panels and wind turbines are similarly examined.

Potential field trips include visiting a Hydrologic power plant, a Solar Photovoltaic Farm, and a Wind farm are planned. Additional trips include visiting the energy exhibit at the Museum of Science & Technology (‘Powering the Future’) and energy research lab at National Grid.

Typical Day

When not on field trips, the typical day involves lectures, demos and team building in the morning session and hands-on work in the lab or field in the afternoon. Students will be problem solving in groups, designing and building structures, and working with SU/ESF undergraduate/graduate students in various College of Engineering labs.   When not in class, students will have homework, conduct additional assigned research/reading, and be expected to continue work on group projects.

Common lectures in the all three Engineering programs:

  1. Fundamental Units of Engineering
  2. Intellectual Property
  3. Engineering Ethics

Common program components:

  1. Selected Readings and presentations by student pairs.
  2. Teamwork practice

Program Costs:

Please visit our program costs page for more detailed information.

*Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

*Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.

Faculty Bio

Dr. Peter Plumley – Research Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Peter Plumley is the Exhibits Project Manager at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology and a Science and Research Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Syracuse University. He is an Earth Scientist with an extensive background in computers and technology. Dr. Plumley’s research has been in the areas of plate tectonics and application of paleomagnetic techniques to regional tectonics. His expertise also lies in the areas of interactive computational programming, and Computer Aided Virtual Environments (CAVEs). His most recent and active research is focused on educational issues of secondary students related to motivation and the Science of Learning. Dr. Plumley was responsible for development and implementation of K-12 outreach for the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Students impacted by his outreach programs number approximately 2,000 students from middle schools (4th – 8th grade) per year and 2,100 high school students (9th – 12th grade) per year. Dr. Plumley was honored with “2003 College Educator of the Year,” by the Technology Alliance of Central New York and the 2011 Post-Standard Achievement Award for years of working to excite young people in Central New York about learning science and engineering.

Click here to learn more about the College of Engineering and Computer Science.