Today at Berkeley Lab

Lab Researcher Helps Berkeley High Students Create Energy Videos

Thirty Berkeley High School sophomores began on Thursday afternoon a unique and exciting project to create short videos on energy issues with a helping hand from Berkeley graduate students, including Berkeley Lab researcher Sebastien Lounis. The curriculum was developed by high school science teacher Glenn Wolkenfeld and members of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC), an energy club founded by Cal grad students. The video project is an outgrowth of another BERC program that brought club members into Oakland 4th and 5th grade classrooms to teach after-school workshops about energy science.

Lounis is a fourth-year Berkeley Applied Science and Technology PhD candidate and co-president of BERC. He works as a beamline researcher at the Advanced Light Source, and is one of seven BERC volunteers who will be visiting Berkeley High’s “Green Academy” 15 times in the current semester to help the students develop their videos. Each mentor will work with three to four students during the one-hour class, to be held every other week. “We will cover researching the topic, script writing, shooting, and editing,’’ says Lounis, who also serves as an editor of Berkeley Science Review, a graduate student-run magazine written for “the intelligent non-specialist.”

Wolkenfeld’s introduction to energy class is called Human Energy and Appropriate Technology (HEAT), and the BERC-supported video undertaking is called the HEAT Film Project. The Green Academy is one of the “schools within a school” at Berkeley High, and attracts students who are “invested in energy awareness,’’ says Lounis. In addition to learning the craft of modern video production, the class will be challenged to address current issues in energy science and policy, building a case and advocating a position in a 3 – 5 minute video. Among the topics the students may consider:

  • Electric vehicles: Solution or distraction?
  • Natural gas fracking: energy independence or energy disaster?
  • Should the U.S. move forward with expanding nuclear energy?
  • Can you save energy by saving water?
  • Should the U.S. pass a carbon tax?
  • CFL: energy savers or dangerous polluters?
  • Voting with your fork: Can your plate be the key to energy savings?
  • Solar! Should it be on every roof?
  • Why should you audit your energy use?
  • Should people walk/bike/BART or drive?

Founded in 2005, BERC has 3,000 members and serves a network for Cal graduate students interested in energy and environmental science, connecting them with faculty, industry, and the community. Its membership includes a 30-student leadership team from 14 departments and divisions at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. BERC conducts 30 events a year, including the 2011 Energy Symposium set for October 20-21, which will showcase cutting edge research and debate the most pressing issues and crucial strategies for addressing global energy challenges.