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Educational Opportunities

The Conn Center offers numerous opportunities for high school and college students to participate in research. We work closely with groups that have the mission of promoting college education and pre-college participation in research with short-term goals toward participation in science fair competitions. These include various high school groups and the non-profit Lincoln Foundation in Louisville. In addition, the Conn Center supports numerous research opportunities for students at UofL, including the UofL Solar Decathlon Team and Master of Science in Materials and Energy Sciences & Engineering.

Science Fair Mentoring 

Conn Center faculty and researchers mentor students from Louisville-area high schools each year who win grand prizes at Intel Science Fair competitions and also pursue majors in science and engineering. Every year, these professors also involve about ten high school students in research. These students spend approximately 4-6 hours per week in their labs. In addition, Sunkara and his students offer two hour-long workshops on the fabrication and testing of solar cells to all freshmen in engineering and Louisville Science Center on its annual “NanoDays”.


Apply for mentoring.

Solar Decathlon 

The Conn Center supported teams of students from UofL that compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon and Solar Decathlon Middle East. In these decathlons, collegiate teams design and build energy-efficient houses powered exclusively by the sun. These teams spend almost two years creating houses to compete in 10 contests on the National Mall (US) and in Dubai, UAE (SDME). The winning team produces a house that is affordable, attractive, and easy to live in, maintains comfortable and healthy indoor environmental conditions, supplies energy to household appliances for cooking, cleaning, and entertainment, provides adequate hot water, and produces as much or more energy than it consumes.


UofL’s M.S. in Materials and Energy Science & Engineering is a multidisciplinary program, designed to help professionals advance their careers, support the implementation of new energy technologies and influence the quality of life worldwide.

The MS in Materials and Energy Science and Engineering (MESE) will offer advanced level training to provide students with in-depth knowledge of materials and energy science and engineering in areas such as materials science and engineering, materials chemistry and physics, processing, energy conversion and storage devices, and systems-level engineering. Student educational experiences will be enhanced by research opportunities in laboratories conducting basic and translational research on solar energy conversion, energy storage, biofuels and biomass conversion, solar fuels, materials characterization, and advanced energy materials.

As a graduate of this program, you will have the expertise and practical skills to:

  • Design, develop and enact potential solutions and technologies that advance the way energy is generated, stored and distributed.

  • Better understand the broad social, ethical and professional issues related to contemporary science and engineering practices.

  • Advance your current materials and energy science career and become a leader in your organization.

  • Gain new employment within the materials and energy science industry, academia or government.

  • Pursue further professional/doctoral studies in materials and energy science, engineering or a related field.

This interdisciplinary program is offered through Dean’s Office within the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. UofL has a strong materials and energy science & engineering research community, consisting of established collaborations between the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and various departments across the university.

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