2017 RPI EcoEd Research Program

RPI EcoEd 2017 Young Researchers Program

Research Theme:  Products and their Problems

Apply here

Introductory meeting Thursday, February 9, 4-6pm

Weekly research meetings Thursdays, 4-6pm, March 2 – April 27

Poster session Saturday, April 29

Symposium Sunday, April 30

Tomatoes and chocolate, smartphones and televisions, jeans and lipstick.  All these consumer products are made or grown using a wide array of materials, which often travel long distances to the factories or farms where they are produced — by workers, who depend on their jobs to support their families, even if working conditions are unsafe or unfair.  Finished products themselves also travel long distances, packaged and advertised in ways that can make their full life cycles  and costs invisible to the people that ultimately buy and use them.   Research on consumer product life cycles is thus an important part of environmental education and sustainability.   

RPI EcoEd’s 2017 Young Researchers Program will focus on life cycle analysis.    With an RPI mentor, students in grades 4-12 will research, write about, and present a life cycle analysis of a particular type of product, learning about how it is made, transported, bought, and thrown away, linking places and people around the world.

Each student will produce a substantial written report (approximately 10-15 pages) and an annotated bibliography. Results will also be presented as a poster, and in an oral symposium presentation.  Much of the research and writing will be done as homework, and students will be expected to meet weekly deadlines. Students should expect approximately 5 hours of homework each week.

The program is free, but space is very limited.

Applications and teacher references are due Friday, January 20.  If a student has participated in the EcoEd Research Program in previous years, a teacher reference is not required.

Note that the application process can be initiated – and requests for references sent to teachers – before student essays are complete. Acceptances will be announced by Friday, January 27.

Each application must include the following 1) an application form (including contact information for a teacher who can provide a recommendation) 2) four brief (200-300 words) essay responses to the questions provided. The application form should be submitted sufficiently in advance of the January 20 deadline to allow time for the designated teacher to submit a recommendation. Once the application form is submitted, the teacher will receive a recommendation request through email.

Please direct questions to Professor Kim Fortun at fortuk@rpi.edu.