Announcing the 2021-22 NC Energy Literacy Fellows Teacher Professional Development Program

The 2021-22 NC Energy Literacy Fellows Teacher Professional Development Program
Exploring the Future of the Electric Grid
A year-long teacher professional development program for grades 8-12 STEM teachers in NC's Duke Energy service territory.
To be eligible you must teach in a school located in either the Duke Energy Progress or Duke Energy Carolinas service territory.  To see if your school is eligible click here and then in the upper left corner, click on North Carolina and follow the prompts.


 “We are missing an important component in renewable energy education. How can we teach renewables and not spend time discussing their often unique and challenging connection to the grid.” -  2019 Energy Literacy Fellow


Founded in 2017, the NC Energy Literacy Fellows Program is a year-long teacher professional development program designed to build teacher knowledge of the evolving electric grid as a strategy to authentically engage students in learning about renewable energy and prepare them for careers in the energy sector, with an emphasis on NC’s energy landscape.  By combining access to experts with hands-on investigations and place-based explorations of electricity generation facilities, energy research facilities, program activities showcase the benefits and challenges of modernizing the electric grid and highlight the knowledge and skills needed to prepare the next generation’s energy workforce and support the low carbon economy.  Want to find out if there is an Energy Literacy Fellow near you?  Click here for a searchable map.


This professional development opportunity will enhance NC Energy Literacy Fellows' ability to deliver energy-related content, conduct STEM-based activities and promote relevant STEM career opportunities.

“I would say “when I was at the Amazon wind farm” and “when I was at the hydroelectric plant” - and my students would immediately become more engaged. Because I was telling a story rather than just giving facts, they connected and listened at a much higher level.”  – 2017 Energy Literacy Fellow

Connect with other teachers! Any 8th-12th grade STEM teacher who addresses energy in their teaching is eligible to apply. This program will benefit new and experienced teachers!


Construct new knowledge and collect resources that align with the NC Essential Standards for Science and integrate science and engineering practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards.


Receive numerous benefits including:
·  access to current science content related to emerging energy issues and technologies
·  resources to support classroom integration of content
·  over $250 worth of instructional materials to support hands-on STEM investigations
·  access to a peer learning network (2017-2020 Fellows) from across the state
·  opportunity to join a working group to develop an energy lesson alongside one or two program alumni
·  25 to 40+ credit hours towards Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits and credit in the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program offered through the N.C. Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs
·  support for sharing your energy-related STEM instructional strategies and successes with other teaching professionals at the district, regional, state and national levels

“The activities and materials I now have in my teaching toolbox…allow me to help students understand the complexity of the electric grid and the exciting career opportunities awaiting them in this field.” – 2018 Energy Literacy Fellow

Prospective Applicants MUST:

  •     Be an 8th-12th grade STEM teacher at a North Carolina school located in a Duke Energy service territory
  •     Have access to a working Internet connection with audio capabilities
  •     Be available to participate in the following activities that will take place during this year-long program:
  • Virtual Professional Development Institute| July 13-15, 2021 (10AM-4:30PM daily with asynchronous “missions”)
    Participants are required to attend all three days in full; a 90-minute lunch break will occur from 11:30AM-1PM each day; during this institute we will dive into learning about the electric grid and we will explore NC’s energy landscape through online mapping tools, guest presentations, and other interactive activities. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in an electricity-themed Goosechase Scavenger hunt and compete for prizes.


  • PoWer Wednesdays | Monthly webinar series | October – March, Third Wednesday of the month from 4:15-5:45PM

Participants are asked to attend at least four webinars, representing an opportunity to customize this professional development experience. During these virtual sessions, we will explore a topic and discuss classroom integration strategies to support classroom application of program resources and materials and offer peer support in incorporating program experiences into instruction. Alumni will be invited to both attend and lead activities.


  • Regional Science Immersion Experience (In person*)
    Participants are required to attend at least one experience and are welcome to attend more than one as long as space is available. Meals, lodging, substitute teacher reimbursement and transportation stipend provided when applicable. These sessions will include place-based explorations of electricity generation and energy research facilities, hands-on activities, and discussions of local energy issues and relevant careers
    ; alumni from each region will be invited to attend and lead activities.
    • Western Region, Charlotte |Thurs, Nov 11, 2021 (School holiday for most teachers)
    • Eastern Region, Manteo | March 2022 ?(tentatively scheduled for a Fri/Sat either March 19/20 or 26/27, 2022)
    • Central Region, Chapel Hill | Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30, 2022

    ?                         *Please note that in-person programs are subject to change, rescheduling or cancellation depending on COVID-19 restrictions.    

Health and Safety Precautions:
All in-person program components will follow current University, state and federal health guidelines and apply a range of safety measures to mitigate health risks, including:

  • Physical distancing
  • Requiring properly worn face coverings when social distancing is not possible
  • Smaller class sizes 
  • Leading activities outdoors as much as possible
  • Increasing sanitation efforts
  • If indoors, leaving doors and windows open to increase air exchange

Click here to access the online application


All applications due by 11:59PM Sunday April 25th.  Please note: There are a limited number of seats available for this program. All applicants will receive email notification of their acceptance status on or before May 3rd?, 2021. Upon notification of acceptance, teachers will be asked to submit a $100 deposit check to reserve their spot in the program. Your spot will be forfeited if your deposit is not received in a timely manner. The deposit check will not be deposited unless teacher cancels and spot cannot be filled; it would then be considered a tax-deductible gift to the Institute for the Environment. The deposit check will be returned after a teacher completes their first regional science immersion event. 

This program is offered by the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment’s Center for Public Engagement with Science with funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation.


Dana Brown Haine, MS (she, her, hers)

Director, NC Energy Literacy Fellows Teacher Professional Development Program

K-12 Science Education Manager | Center for Public Engagement with Science

UNC Institute for the Environment

CB#1105, Chapel Hill, NC 27599


UNC Institute for the Environment | @UNC_IE