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  • The 7th UMaine Wind Blade Challenge continues to train students in growing industry

    By Ramona du Houx

    Chewonki Semester School students won first prize a the the 7th Annual Maine Wind Blade Challenge May 1, 2015 at the University of Maine.

    UMaine's Wind Blade Challenge was created to inspire, motivate, engage, and introduce students to the world of STEM education, composites and alternative energy with the purpose of building a strong workforce in the composite and alternative energy industries.

    Throughout the year students learn different aspects about the technology and how to apply it.

    At Infusion Day at SMCC on April 16th teams from Freeport, Bath Regional, and Chewonki schools learned how to apply composites to their blades.(photo above) The composites lab at SMCC was initially funded by voter approved bonds to train a new workforce in the growing field.

    Students who participated in past Wind Blade competitions are now working in the Maine composites, wind industry and/or continued their education in STEM fields.

    Photo: Students testing out their windblade designs before the competition

    The goals of the event are:

    To inspire learning through hands-on application with math, science and alternative energy.

    To motivate students and teachers to explore the use and application of composite materials in a safe guided atmosphere.

    To provide students experience with the most modern and clean composite manufacturing techniques.

    To foster relationships between high schools and higher education institutions, which provides composite material training and education.

    Participating Windblade Challenge students have continued their education at the following institutions:
    * The Boat School
    * The Landing School
    * Maine Maritime Academy
    * Northern Maine Community College
    * Southern Maine Community College
    * The University of Maine

    Some participants also pursued careers in the Maine composite industry, working at these and other businesses:
    *Kenway Corporation, Augusta
    *Custom Composites, Bath
    *Hodgdon Yachts, East Boothbay