University of Alabama EcoCAR 3 Team Creates STEM Program in Their Community

BY: Brittany J. Galloway

While the primary focus of the EcoCAR 3 competition series is the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, teams are also tasked to incorporate educational outreach activities. The University of Alabama EcoCAR 3 team launched their own Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) community outreach program, called the EcoScholars Academy. Over the next three years left in the competition, the University of Alabama’s EcoCAR 3 team will focus on reaching out to middle and high schools students from the surrounding local Tuscaloosa area. The team will educate the younger generation of Alabamians on the importance of advanced vehicle technologies and the role they could play in the future of this technology.

UA EcoScholars PicThe purpose of the program is to expose minority and at-risk students to STEM professions and academia through mentorship and academic lecture sessions. The Eco-Scholars program is a sustainable partnership with the West Side Scholars Academy in Tuscaloosa. EcoScholars is a four-session program that will be held on one weekend each month. During each session,the students will learn about various topics ranging from EcoCAR 3, STEM, leadership, college preparation and career discovery.  

During the first session the students had EcoCAR 101 training and they learned about every facet of the unique program. The students were most intrigued by the innovation component of the competition and they had fresh ideas they shared with our Innovation Lead, Evan Graves. The students also learned about various STEM-specific collegiate majors. They had the opportunity to show off what they learned by playing a game the team created, called “Name that Career”. Their goal is to educate and excite the next generation of engineers while also having fun!