National Energy Education Development

National Energy Education Development (NEED)

For my internship, I worked with Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) located in Providence, RI working as a National Energy Education Development (NEED) Intern. NEED is a nationwide program that stresses the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools throughout the country. This program focuses on the reduction of our dependence of fossil fuels, and increasing use of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency. NEED’s philosophy is “Kids Teaching Kids” which encourages students to explore, experiment, and engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom.

As an intern, I attended NEED club meetings throughout Rhode Island to work with existing NEED teachers to assist them with their club meetings, and mentor and inspire students about energy consciousness. For example, Central Falls – Dr. Earl F. Calcutt Middle School received a grant from NASA and conducted experiments, and I was able to facilitate these experiments. Another project I was involved in with Central Falls was planting a local vegetable garden for their school to help the reduction of CO2 emissions to reduce the need for transportation to travel to get food. As an intern, I was able to facilitate and help the students plant their vegetables and herbs. I then assisted OER to raise awareness and expand the RI NEED program. I had to assist with the energy art contest awards program at the 2015 Home Show/Energy Expo at the RI Convention Center. At the 2015 Energy Expo, I also had to organize and manage the energy education booth for kids, where we had an Energy Carnival for youths attending the RI Home Show.


Education Booth at the 2015 Energy Expo at the RI Convention Center. Students from Central Falls, Calcutt Middle School volunteering to teach children about energy!

After the NEED project submission in April 2015, Rhode Island was able to receive a submission of 6 projects from schools around Rhode Island. The small state of Rhode Island won 3 national awards and 6 state level awards. The national awards were awarded to Dr. Earl F. Calcutt Middle School, Central Falls – National Junior Level School, Scituate High School – National Senior Level School of the Year, and AVenture Academy, Providence – Special Project Rookie of the Year.  From last year, Rhode Island was able to expand NEED to 3 other schools in Rhode Island – and it is currently still expanding!

I was able to accompany our winning schools to a national exhibition to the 2015 National Youth Awards Conference in Washington, DC from June 26 – 29, 2015. All NEED schools have outstanding classroom-based programs in which students learn about energy. To recognize outstanding achievement and reward student leadership, The NEED Project conducts the National Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement. This was a weekend full of various energy activities and events for teachers and students. I am honored I was able to be a part of teaching and inspiring students to be future green leaders of Rhode Island.

Check out this video of Central Falls, Calcutt Middle School students singing a parody to Meghan Trainor’s “All About the Bass” using lyrics that they wrote about the forms of energy.

For more information about the NEED project, please visit the website or contact Barbara Cesaro at the RI Office of Energy Resources at


By Devina S. Thakur ‘17

Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Major

General Business Minor

December 11, 2015