Officials from the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) had the chance to meet and engage thousands of middle and high school students April 28 and 29 at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington D.C. The event, in its second year, featured more than 3,000 fun, interactive exhibits, more than 100 stage shows, celebrity guests and 33 presentations by authors.

USA_SE FEST 2 Young visitors to the WVU exhibit test their knowledge of hybrid electric vehicles. Credit: WVU News and Information Services

The Consortium, which is based at West Virginia University, joined university officials in making its first appearance at the event with a bang.

USA_SE FEST 3 The NAFTC’s Al Ebron helps visitors scan hybrid electric engine parts to learn more about them. Credit: WVU News and Information Services

Although students, faculty, administrators and recruiters were on hand to showcase the broad scope and range of the University’s academic opportunities, a centerpiece of the WVU exhibit was the NAFTC’s new cut-away model of a fully functional Toyota Prius. The heavily modified, third-generation hybrid electric vehicle training educator (HEVTE) was a hit with students.

“The students at this festival were bright, engaged young people with boundless curiosity,” said NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron.

“They see the increased gas prices their parents pay and they want their future to be different,” he said. “It was clear from the mature questions they asked, how receptive they were as we explained alternative fuel options to them and how technologically savvy they were as they scanned the QR codes on our HEVTE, that we were in the presence of future leaders and problem solvers.”




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