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Energy news from Omaha Public Power District


Partnership aims to ‘build’ interest in STEM careers

February 22, 2021 | Laura King-Homan | community, outreach, partnerships
COM_SAC Exhibit_sign

As visitors venture out this spring, those heading to the Strategic Air and Space Command Museum will get a hands-on look at what it takes to power a city.

Omaha Public Power District is partnering with the museum for their “Build It!” exhibition. The interactive science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) exhibit opened Feb. 13 and runs through May.

The exhibit gives a closer look at the “E” in STEM by connecting different types of engineering with local careers. Visitors will be challenged to light up a miniature city, save a sinking ship, test the flight of an airplane and construct a tower that can withstand an earthquake.

COM_SAC Exhibit_city

A peek at careers

By working with companies in the area, the exhibit grounds the education in real-life applications.

Collaborating with community partners such as the SAC Musem is part of OPPD’s commitment to promoting STEM education throughout its service territory.

“OPPD and the SAC Museum have a shared interest in wanting to provide innovative ways for kids to learn about science,” said Jamie Wagner, community relations project manager at OPPD. “We’re especially excited about the Build It! exhibit since it supports STEM learning in such interactive ways.”

OPPD has partnered with the museum in various capacities for several years. This latest exhibit allows the utility to showcase the work of its employees to keep the energy flowing for customers.

Powering a city

The OPPD portion of the “Build It!” exhibit is called “Go With the Flow.” A model of a city will show the journey of electricity from power plant to substations and finally to customers’ homes.

“We are excited to partner with OPPD and others in the engineering field to inspire and educate,” said John Lefler, Jr., marketing director for the SAC Museum. “Showcasing these industry leaders has produced a dynamic exhibit and hopefully motivates and inspires a new generation of engineers to build us a bright future.”

Videos and interactive sub-exhibits will give students different views into the many ways energy works within our world. They will learn about wind energy, pulleys, circuit racers and energy transfer within a motors.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some school districts will forego field trips in the spring. But the museum has that angle covered. Virtual tours of the “Build It!” exhibit will be offered to districts who are unable to visit the museum in-person.

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About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the supervisor, Brand and Communication Operations, at Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

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