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WASHINGTON - Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk Friday announced that the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) has submitted the featured entry in the 2011 Indian Education Renewable Energy Challenge targeting college age students and the Oneida Nation High School has submitted the featured entry in the high school-age challenge category.
The Challenge is sponsored by the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) in partnership with the Indian Affairs Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute is a Bureau of Indian Education post secondary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Oneida Nation High School is a Bureau of Indian Education funded school in Oneida, Wisconsin.
“I am very pleased that this contest allowed the creativity of our BIE students to shine,”
Echo Hawk said. "Both Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and the Oneida Nation High School student's bio-diesel fuel teams were able to meet the challenge of designing an innovative process for converting biomass into diesel fuel. Projects like this demonstrate that our students can take on real world challenges with successes they can someday use to help promote tribal self-sufficiency."
This is the second year in a row that both the SIPI team and the Oneida Nation High School team have been the featured entries in the national competition. The SIPI wind turbine team was one of the top two national winners at the 2010 college level competition.
Last year's competition ended in a tie with both Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and the College of the Menominee Nation from Keshena, Wisconsin, sharing first place.
In the high school level category, this is the second year in a row that the Oneida Nation High School has received an award in the renewable energy challenge. This year the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute bio-diesel fuel team took first place for their process design to convert raw biomass material to diesel fuel.
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute Bio-diesel Fuel Team
The team members are students Monique Mousseaux (Oglala Sioux), Felipa DeLeon (Oglala Sioux), John David (Laguna Pueblo), Josh Begay (Navajo), and Vernetta Long (Navajo), Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute faculty members Dr. Nader Vadiee and Dr. Massoud Ahghar, and the teams' mentor from the University of New Mexico, Ralph Kelly.
"We had an excellent team of students working on this challenge," said Dr. Vadiee. "I am very pleased with their efforts and creativity in this endeavor. All of the students worked very hard and are extremely deserving of this recognition."
Oneida Nation High School Team
The Oneida Nation High School team used cooking grease to produce a usable bio-diesel fuel. Their project design, like SIPI's, was chosen as the best for the 2011 Challenge. The students working on the project included Devan Little, Larissa Lucus, Charles Cook, Alexi Silva, Danny McKinney, Bradley Grandquist, Jade Doxtator, and Brandon White.
The eight-person group spent about 20 hours over three weeks building and developing the project before it was submitted for judgment.
“It did feel good to get out of the classroom and come here to work on it,”
said White, a senior.
The focus of the contest was to promote renewable energy development for Indian Country among students and teachers at the high school and college level. Preparing a proposal, feasibility studies, background research and team work, time management, budget management, communications, and partnering with other research and development entities were some of the activities students practiced and learned.
"This is a great way for students to translate what they are learning in the classroom to real-world applications for developing renewable energy sources," said Andrew Skipor, who leads Argonne's educational programs. "We are thrilled to be a part of such an important program that provides the hands-on training and experience that will help increase the use of clean energy technologies and promote energy independence."
Both the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute and Oneida Nation High School bio-diesel fuel teams attended a BIE-IEED-Argonne Award Ceremony at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois on July 14-15, 2011. They will have their project results prominently displayed at Argonne, which is located near Chicago.
posted July 18, 2011 6:17 am edt
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