Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame

Opportunities for ND Energy Faculty

There are a variety of education and outreach opportunities available to you that will help you reach your broader impact goals. Many of the events are planned for you, all you have to do is provide the content.

To schedule a broader impact consultation to decide which events are the best fit for your lab, or to flesh out other ideas you may have, contact Anne Berges Pillai, Education and Outreach Program Coordinator at ND Energy She's happy to meet you at your office to discuss your ideas.

Annual Opportunities

Undergraduate Energy Research Expo, January

Labs that are interested in hosting undergraduate students in their labs are invited to participate in this event. The labs set up research posters. The undergraduates look at the posters and then fill out applications to work in the labs that suit their interests. The lab personnel is still responsible for interviewing and selecting candidates. This event stream-lines the process for everyone involved.

SAB member demonstrates solar energy to a young student at Science Alive 2012

Science Alive at the St. Joseph Library, February

This event is geared toward kids in kindergarten through high school. The library is transformed into a hands-on science museum for the day. Researchers, science clubs, and organizations set up booths with hands-on, interactive demonstrations. Each year 3,500 kids and their families attend this event.

This year, ND Energy will have a whole room dedicated to energy topics and we have many labs that are participating.


Notre Dame Energy Week

The students help organize this campus-wide event. Scheduled activities include a quad display, career networking event, poster session, and power plant tours. Labs are welcome to participate in the quad display, poster session, the faculty forum panel, and with lab tours. It is our goal to find more ways to plug faculty into Energy Week in meaningful ways. If you have new ideas of how your lab might like to participate, we welcome suggestions.


ND Energy Research Experience for Teachers: Engineering a More Sustainable Energy Future

High School science and math teachers are paired with faculty mentors to conduct a research project in Notre Dame labs. The teachers use their experience to create curriculum to use in their classroom.

If you don't have the time or staffing available to mentor a teacher, you can still get involved. We could use help with an energy basics presentation during orientation. You could also invite the teachers to your lab for a tour. We offer fieldtrips and supplemental learning experiences for teachers.

Siemens Competition Local Middle and High School Research Symposium - November

There are possibilities for labs to get involved with this. The competition features 10 regional finalists and they are often looking for judges. Forty local middle and high school students are brought to Notre Dame to meet the competitors at a poster session and to participate in workshops to help them learn what research at a university might look be like for pre-college students. This year, several graduate students from a variety of labs worked with small groups of students in mini-research sessions.

Community Engagement

Marjorie Massel explains her research at the City of South Bend's Green Energy Day 2012

Expert in the community

ND Energy is developing strong relationships with sustainability organizations in the South Bend Community. There are many opportunities for interacting with the general public at events hosted by the City of South Bend. This could be in the form of a discussion panel or as an expert for a workshop.

Connect with local organizations

Maybe you have an idea for something you would like to test in a city building, a service project some of your students would like to do, an idea for a workshop you would like to offer to the community, or community leaders you would like to meet. ND Energy can help you make the connections in the community that can help you make this a reality.

Other Opportunites

Mentor a high school student

Several local high schools offer research classes for advanced science students. Many of these students locate mentors at universities to conduct their research. This research is usually used in science fairs and competitions.

Lab Tours

From time-to-time, we get requests from teachers and after-school programs for lab tours. If your lab is appropriate for a tour, and the students will learn something meaningful from the tour this might be a good option for you. A good model includes a short presentation about your research, an explanation about the tools you use, and some sort of demo(s). The kids also like to learn about the path you took to become a science researcher.

The Ashfeld group works with a group of Upward Bound students

STEM events on campus

Notre Dame is home to many STEM education events on campus. We often get requests for help in the form of graduate students to work one-on-one with kids or for faculty to present.


Over 60 research labs on campus have already participated in greeNDiscovery, Notre Dame’s laboratory energy efficiency program. As a result, tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of energy have been saved and hundreds of thousands of pounds of CO2 have been avoided. Participation takes very little time and it provides a number of benefits to the lab, including rebate offers for replacement of inefficient equipment, free labor for cleaning and defrosting freezers, and free spirit thermometers in exchange for mercury equivalents. Numerous labs have received new, high-efficiency appliances free of charge in exchange for older, less efficient models. To sign up or learn more, email

Choose your own outreach adventure

If you have an idea not listed here, don't fret! Anne is available to help discuss your idea and make the appropriate connections as necessary. If you have an idea for a larger project, she may be able to help you connect with other researchers that would like to collaborate with you.