Project Infinite Green students meet with Argonne officials

11/19/2014, 2:37 p.m.
The after-school program allows students to learn firsthand about energy source options.
Joliet West High School students who are members of Project Infinite Green met with Argonne Laboratory officials last week. Courtesy of Joliet Township High School District 204

Joliet Township High School District 204 provided this news release:

Joliet West High School freshman Jason Vaccarella spent the afternoon Nov. 11 learning hands-on knowledge from Argonne National Labs Director Peter Littlewood.

Vaccarella is a member of the after-school STEM program, Project Infinite Green, which encourages STEM education by taking local students on expeditions that explore various energy sources. Students learn about green initiatives as they interact with mentors from Argonne National Laboratories, the Department of Energy, Exelon and ExxonMobil.

Vaccarella and other Joliet-area students in the after-school program have been studying energy sources and visiting area sites such as Argonne National Labs, and Midwest Power. STEM program founder Catherine Greenspon arranged this most recent visit to Argonne National Labs.

“Project Infinite Green encourages students to develop business plans based upon their learning and interest in an energy source. Last year, students in this program presented their business plans to the Illinois Energy Council,” said Curriculum Director Dianne McDonald.

The program fits perfectly with Vaccerella’s career goals. “As an aspiring engineer, during my visit with Dr. Littlewood I learned how to think more like an engineer. He spoke about the many angles you have to think about when developing a product to solve a problem,” said Vaccarella.

“I also liked joining the Infinite Green group from Lemont to listen to their ideas. As a new participant, I am absorbing a lot of information on the program objectives. I have much to learn, but I've realized this is the direction I want to take.”

Initiatives such as Project Infinite Green are available to students as part of the JTHS Career Academy program. JTHS Career Academies increase student achievement by organizing students into five career-focused small learning communities that offer a personalized learning environment within a large school setting.