Written by Christine Sampson A team of teenage students who met through Avalon Park's STATE program has taken home the top prize in an essay and video contest sponsored by Island Park-based solar energy company EmPower Solar.
Jake Welde of Stony Brook, Elaina Zodiatis of St. James and Sara Kaufman of Mount Sinai worked together to answer questions and create a video project about solar power and its applications. Their prize? A $1,000 scholarship each, plus a trip to the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in California.
For Elaina, whose interests already lie in environmental engineering, the competition was "an amazing experience."
"The essay portion allowed us to research the topic and was very informative and has increased my interest in solar energy," she said. "The video portion gave us the opportunity to use our imagination and marketing skills to promote the solar panel system and to inform the public of its benefits."
While working on the project, Jake said he discovered answers to many questions he had.
"Because I worked on this project, I achieved a much better understanding of the large-scale electric grid infrastructure, as well as gained real perspective on the feasibility of solar power and what a great opportunity it is, both technologically and financially," he said.