Students Present Solar Army Poster at National Meeting

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Two Fairmont State University students and a faculty member presented a poster at the Center for Chemical Innovation Solar Fuels Annual Meeting in Newport Beach, Calif., on Feb. 5 through 7.

Kevin Dudley of Elkins, a senior Chemistry major; Allison Moore of Fairmont, a first-year Pre-Medicine student; and Dr. Erica Harvey, Professor of Chemistry, were invited to the event hosted by the California Institute of Technology to present a poster about their work with the Solar Army: West Virginia Brigade. On the national level, the Solar Army is an outreach branch of the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation in Solar Fuels. The goal of The Solar Army is to capture the energy in sunlight and use it to split water and yield a chemical fuel, hydrogen. Through outreach projects like the one in West Virginia that FSU is leading, high school and college students can join in the search for catalysts that are needed to aid in this process.

“Kevin presented his really cool, new 3D-printed sample holder for an instrument used across the Solar Army. Several high school and college groups asked us to send the CAD files for the design as soon as possible so they can start using this sample holder,” Harvey said.

Dudley and Moore also shared information about outreach work the Solar Army: West Virginia Brigade has been doing across the state. In front of all the conference attendees including leading researchers in the field, both students gave one-minute “pop talks” about their work, using language and images intended for communicating with the general public.

“I was incredibly proud of how brave and competent they were, and they were very well received,” Harvey said.

Support for travel to the conference was provided by CCI Solar through Dr. Jenny Schuttlefield of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, by Dr. Don Trisel and the School of Science and Technology and by Dr. J. Robert Baker and the Honors Program.

For more information, visit www.fairmontstate.edu/solararmywv or www.thesolararmy.org.