Omak senior Steven Zandell was one of 22 area high school students to attend the Hydropower STEM Academy at Rocky Reach Dam June 24-28.
The academy is designed to show various options for careers in hydropower for students interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and vocational careers. The event is sponsored by the Foundation for Water and Energy Education (FWEE), of which Okanogan County PUD is a member.
Zandell was the only Okanogan County student at the academy this year, spending the week with a host family.
“We not only learned about the dam and hydropower, but also about other things such as solar, augmented reality and birds of prey,” Zandell said. “We also got to see people in the hydropower industry such as the linemen, divers and project managers and learn what they do.”
Among many aspects of the academy was a visit to Chelan Dam, where students not only toured the dam, but also the man-made habitat channel where fish were visible. They talked about the environmental mitigations and took water samples for testing.
“I hope to use my experiences at the hydro academy to better prepare myself for a career in the engineering field,” Zandell said. He said he learned how to create a hydro-powered generator, how hatchery facilities operate and how to use a soldering iron while building a drone.
Students can also earn high school and/or college credit for completing the academy. Any students or schools interested in getting more information on the next Academy can contact Sheila Corson at the Okanogan PUD, email@example.com or 509-422-8427, or check out the FWEE Academy website, www.fwee.org.