• Mary Ewell George Mason University
  • Padmanabhan Seshaiyer



solar, STEM, research experience of undergraduates


Project PROGRESS (Promoting Renewable energy research On the Grid to create Responsible STEM workforce in Solar Sustainability) is a unique first-time multidisciplinary program that provides an ideal opportunity for all participants, including students, faculty, and the workforce in the state to learn through experience and research. Students in this course are charged to develop innovative ideas to grow and sustain renewable energy research in the commonwealth of Virginia through a hands-on, experiential, and project-based approach. This project has helped to promote the much needed awareness of the importance of community-based solar energy by engaging various stake-holders in studying its impact and assessing its benefits, while supporting and encouraging solar energy growth in Virginia. The Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Dominion Power (Virginia), funded this experimental STEM course.

The two principle outcomes of this project include: (a) Engaging students in a new hands-on course that will be developed called ââ¬ÅSTEM for Solarââ¬Â and; (b) Engaging the students in self-directed research on a variety of projects involving Solar including Virginia energy issues, critical energy infrastructure, smart-grid technology, and sustainability.

Project PROGRESS includes a multi-disciplinary team of faculty and experts from various disciplines and industry. Student research projects include developing new designs of technologies to make solar energy economical to storing solar energy and beyond. This course stands a model of collaboration between a local philanthropic organization and GMU. Many aspects of STEM and public policy, applicable to the entire student body of COS, and Engineering are reviewed.

Author Biographies

Mary Ewell, George Mason University

Department of Physics and Astronomy and College of Science STEM Accelerator

Associate Term Faculty

Padmanabhan Seshaiyer

**2011 GMU Teaching Excellence Award-General Education**





4:15pm-5:30pm POSTER SESSION (Group A- 4:15-4:45pm)