Around 35 region high school students toured CIVS facilities, learned about basic principles and engineering & educational advances in energy generation technologies, and experimented with virtual reality environments on Thursday, August 8, 2019, as part of the NIPSCO-sponsored Energy Ambassador Program for Lake and LaPorte counties.
CIVS graduate research assistants Haibo Ma, Justin Heffron, and Abel Reyes walked students through presentations and live demonstrations of foundational blast furnace operation and optimization projects, steel industry – related and renewable energy – focused training simulators for equipment and procedures, and cutting-edge applications of virtual reality and mixed reality environments (Forensic science training simulator, VR Fire Extinguisher training).
While students found the immersive theater and virtual reality environments impressive as technologies in their own right, several students stated that they would be interested in training simulators for heavy transportation “right here, right now—with that kind of instruction, I could be driving a big rig in no time at all. And you could even include a tutorial on using navigation apps.”
Through the 2019 Energy Ambassador Program, high school students from Lake and LaPorte counties also had opportunities to participate in career exploration experiences, community service outreach activities, and workshops designed to prepare students for college or vocational-technical careers.