Learning Lab I: Energy Innovation in North Carolina

posted 2013.04.10

The Class of 2016 met with individuals in Boone, Pittsboro, and Raleigh to gain a deeper understanding of leadership through exploring the theme of energy innovation in North Carolina. Students interacted with leaders across the state currently involved with developing conventional and alternative energy solutions.


The Class of 2016 at a wind power research site on Beech Mountain.

Prior to departing on their trip, Park Scholars learned about fracking and grid modernization from leaders representing Duke Energy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission.

While in Pittsboro, students met with individuals from Piedmont Biofuels to gain an understanding of how small renewable energy companies are impacting the state. During their time in Boone, the class learned about wind and solar energy production at Appalachian State University, and how nonprofit organizations such as the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy are helping community groups develop affordable, renewable energy systems.

“Energy is rapidly changing in our state and many groups are taking different approaches to drive this change,” says Learning Laboratory I Chair Avi Aggarwal ‘16. “Through this trip we saw firsthand the approaches that certain leaders, companies, organizations, and campuses are taking, and reflected on what we can do on our own.”

Learning Laboratory I is an annual experience designed and implemented by Park Scholars in the freshman class. This educational program allows students to learn about leadership by understanding the people, history, strengths, and challenges of North Carolina through the context of a theme selected by the class.

Learning Laboratory I Speakers
Jeff Deal, Senior Project Manager, Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy
Jim Dees, Data and Assessment Specialist, Office of Sustainability, Appalachian State University
Tracy Dixon, Director, University Sustainability, NC State University
Lyle Estill, Vice President, Piedmont Biofuels
Allie Garrett, Chair, Renewable Energy Initiative, Appalachian State University
David Kelly, Program Associate, Environmental Defense Fund
Brian Raichle, Associate Professor, Technology and Environmental Design, Appalachian State University
Jeff Ramsdell, Director, Energy Center, Appalachian State University
Vikram Rao, Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium; Member, North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission
Dennis Scanlin, Professor and Coordinator of the Appropriate Technology Program, Appalachian State University
Crystal Simmons, Outreach and Communication Specialist, Office of Sustainability, Appalachian State University
Jeff Tiller, Chair, Department of Technology and Environmental Design, Appalachian State University
Mark Wyatt, Vice President of Grid Modernization, Duke Energy