Pre-College Programs

ERC Pre-college programs are designed to engage and inspire pre-college students to consider further studies and careers in engineering (especially in Smart Lighting) and provide an understanding of basic engineering principles and skills. Programs are designed and offered to students of all grade levels, from kindergarten through community college.

The ERC Pre-college programs also include teacher programs; Research Experience for Teachers (RET) as well as a one-week program for math, science and technology teachers.

Summer Enrichment Program for High School Students

 Over the last 5 summers, high school students have had a blast exploring the state of the art advances in digital lighting. This one-week enrichment program will be offered again for the summer 2016. The full day program is sponsor by LESA (formerly the Smart Lighting) Engineering Research Center therefore there is no cost for participation. Residential housing and evening activities are available at a cost to the participants.   Applications are currently being accepted until March 31, 2016. 

Research Experience for Teachers (RET)

 Each summer, STEM teachers are invited to apply for a two summer commitment to perform research on campus for 5 weeks. The teachers learn about the technological developments within LESA and state-of-the-art engineering labs and equipment associated with latest developments. The goal of this program is for the teachers to develop age-appropriate curricular materials to take back to their schools/classrooms to support and enhance the STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) curricula at their school. Please sign up today by applying to the weblink form.  

LESA ERC Curriculum Development-Summer Institute

 (4 day program – July 11 through 18)

The LESA ERC will offer a 4 day program for math, science and technology teachers with the objective of introducing the fundamental concepts of digital Smart Lighting and how the applications go beyond the standard concept of “lighting” a space. The program incorporates the teaching of fundamental electronic concepts, introduction of digital lighting & Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), the use of modern instrumentation, faculty presentations, multiple demonstrations, hands-on activities, and extensive lab tours including a visit to the Micro and Nano Fabrication Clean Room (a Class 1000 Cleanroom). The teachers are also given time to design curriculum based on the lessons learned. Many creative and engaging modules were designed by previous participants. The program is designed and facilitated with the assistance of faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students. Please sign up today by applying to the weblink form.

Details of past programs, materials and teacher deliverables are available here.

Young Scholars Programs

The Smart Lighting ERC began a unique collaboration with regional high schools for students interested in an opportunity to perform independent research whether it is for personal experience or as a part of the Science Research in the High School (SRHS) course . Young Scholars (high school students) interested in becoming involved with research are encouraged to contact Elizabeth Herkenham, Pre-College Director LESA ERC herkee2@rpi.edu

The LESA ERC sponsors the Questar New Visions High School at Rensselaer. This program recruits talented high school students to attend classes at Rensselaer for a half of each day during their senior year.

Exploring Engineering Day

Rensselaer’s School of Engineering hosts students in grades 3 – 6 and their parents. The young students and adults spend a half-day at Rensselaer to learn about engineering and science disciplines. The Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center (ERC) team offers several workshops and hands-on activities.

Design Your Future Day

This program is designed for extraordinary young women to learn about academic career opportunities in scientific and technological career paths. The Smart Lighting ERC introduces the young women to surprising ways we use light and how the colorful world of light can impact our health, happiness and safety while saving energy and protecting the environment. Other hands-on activities will engage the audience in the fun of STEM-related careers within Smart Lighting.

Many of the activities used in “Design Your Future Day” and “Exploring Engineering Day” can be tailored for audiences in the primary grades through high school. Please contact Ms. Elizabeth Herkenham for more information.

Activities and Programs

Optical Signals

Ages K - 12

Student will learn about the use of light in controlling televisions, computers, etc. and how to send music through airwaves.

Light Saber

Ages K - 12

Students will create a discharge lamp that can be used to remotely control a touch lamp using the electrical noise it generates.

LED Simple Circuit

Ages K - 12

Using 9V batteries, resistors, potentiometers, and LEDs, students will build simple LED circuits.

LED Design

Ages K - 12

Students will gain an introduction to MobileStudio and the basics of LED design and mechanics.

Electromagnetic Spectrum

Ages K - 12

Students will learn about visible and invisible, and will observe the color spectrum using spectrometers and diffracting grafting slides.

Comparing Lightbulbs with Modern Instrumentation

Ages K - 12

Students will gain a working understanding of light from various types of bulbs by comparing incandescent, compact florescent, and LED lights.

The Power of Light

Ages K - 5

Geared toward younger students, this program introduces a culmination of lighting topics including the electromagnetic spectrum and comparisons of various types of light bulbs.