Encore Electric Teammates Mentor Students Competing in Statewide STEM Competition

February 14, 2024 – Lakewood, CO Future City, a STEM program for middle schoolers, is empowering students of today to solve problems for communities of tomorrow by providing them with applicable experience and skills to inspire careers in related industries. Encore Electric Director of Engineering Jeffrey Engelstad joined forces with Dr. Dewey Brigham, President and Executive Director of the Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists (CABPES), to guide a team of middle school students involved with CABPES through the process of creating the electrical infrastructure to power their future city. 

Each year the competition challenges teams to design a city of the future that solves a sustainability issue faced by modern communities, with this year’s competition challenging teams to design a completely electrically powered city that will be clean and safe for the city’s population.  

“The Colorado Association of Black Professional Engineers and Scientists is a 43-year-old 501(c)3 nonprofit that has engaged industry professionals to expose 5th to 12th grade underrepresented youth to the fields of engineering and other STEM-related professions,” said Guy Mitchell, CABPES Vice President. “As part of CABPES’ mission for the past five years, middle school students have participated in the Future City competition to build a city 100 years in the future and solve a problem. What the students learned in this competition goes beyond normal classroom learning, and it will last a lifetime! 

Over the last few months Engelstad and the CABPES team have met multiple times a week to brainstorm and build their city of the future. After many hours of research and discussion, the team designed their ideal future city, L’avenir, meaning “the future” in French. L’avenir is a small town located between an ocean and a mountain range. Students relied on the physical surroundings when planning the city’s electrical infrastructure, building salt batteries and wind turbines to provide clean, reliable energy that will support the city’s many homes, schools, and hospitals.  

Future City
Future City
The first step of the Future City program is an essay where students outline their cities population, power needs, and electrical infrastructure and how it is equipped to support the city’s needs. Following the essay, students build a model of their city complete with working power systems.  

Last month, the team presented their city’s electrical infrastructure plan and model to a panel of judges at the Colorado School of Mines competing against other teams from across Colorado. Students presented their city in the format of a news broadcast, performing as city planners sharing their plans for how the city’s electrical infrastructure is prepared to support an influx of new residents. 

Engelstad’s group placed second in the statewide competition and won the American Society of Civil Engineers “Dream Big Award”, earning them the opportunity to present their city again at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Civil Engineering session in February.  

Throughout the Future City program, students’ scientific and creative abilities were put to the test. While learning how electricity and electrical infrastructure work, the group also gained public speaking and team building experience, in addition to exposure to many career opportunities they may not have considered prior to the program.  

“Future City allows kids to build curiosity around city infrastructure, future based solutions to the problems our cities are faced with today,” said Engelstad. “They can experience hands on how important those planning and engineering roles are in our cities so they can see themselves in these roles.” 

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