EnergyWhiz Virtual Showcases Renewable Energy and Sparks Competition Among Florida Schools

COCOA, Fla., March 2, 2022—How many energy transfers can you demonstrate in 60 seconds? What is the most energy efficient home for raising butterflies? What artistic inspiration can be found in renewable energy and climate change? These are just some of the questions answered with demonstrations at this year’s EnergyWhiz Virtual.

More than 225 students from 79 schools throughout the state of Florida participated in this year’s virtual event from February 14-18. EnergyWhiz is a renewable energy-focused

Excited students from Bay Meadows Elementary School in Orlando cheer on their fellow teammates as the winners were announced during the 2022 EnergyWhiz Virtual awards ceremony. Photo Credit: Mandy Fillenwarth, Bay Meadows STEAM Magnet Coordinator.

event dedicated to giving K-12 students a hands-on approach to project-based learning activities utilizing science, technology, art, and math (STEAM) capabilities. Hosted by the FSEC Energy Rese

arch Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, EnergyWhiz is an annual event that began more than 20 years ago and now includes virtual, in-person and regional options.

Teams from all over the state of Florida—as far north as Tallahassee, and as far south as Pinecrest— showcased their STEAM talents at EnergyWhiz Virtual.

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2022 Virtual EnergyWhiz Winners

Critter Comfort CottageEnergyWhiz Virtual logo

Grades 3 – 5

1st Place – Team Caterpillar Castle – Sally Ride Elementary (Orlando)
Teacher – Betty Berriz
Students – Zola, Kensleigh

2nd Place – Critter Cottage Crew – Ocean Breeze Elementary (Indian Harbor Beach)
Teacher – Holly Mentillo
Students – Ellie, Faith, Finley, Kenzie, Micheala

3rd Place – Lizard Lovers – Zellwood Elementary (Zellwood)
Teacher – Pamela Owens
Students – Annika, Samatha, Della

Grades 6 – 8

1st Place – Robo-Hamstyer Cottage – Carwise Middle (Palm Harbor)
Teacher – Bettie Rossie
Students – Rita, Matias, Mya

2nd Place – Bunny Builders – Carwise Middle (Palm Harbor)
Teacher – Bettie Rossie
Students – Riat, Matias, Mya

3rd Place – WMS Warrior Guinea Pig House – Westridge Middle (Orlando)
Teacher – Isidra Legarov Jr.
Students – Nethanya, Elza, Emily

Grades 9 – 12

1st Place – Aquaponic Fish Tank – Lakewood High (St. Petersburg)
Teacher – Jennifer Pacowta
Students – Kieran, Borislava, Macie

2nd Place – Birdhouse–GC Team – Lakewood High (St. Petersburg)
Teacher – Jennifer Pacowta
Students – Cayla, Gavriel

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Virtual EnergyWhiz Award Winners

If you missed the live EnergyWhiz Awards announcement, you can see the recording at:  or download the list of winners.

You still have the opportunity to view all of the student Projects or see the wide range of energy topics in the Exhibit Hall at:

Check out the Special Topics section where you’ll Explore the Lagoon, Navigate the Food, Energy and Water Nexus, learn how to start an Electrathon program, or see A Hurricane Able House: Solar + Storage + Resiliency, just to name a few.

A Bright Future for EnergyWhiz: May 3–7, 2021

EnergyWhiz logo with sun on right and laptop on leftFSEC Energy Research Center (FSEC-ERC) presents its annual K-12 STEAM event in a virtual format this year. Visit to see all of the amazing student projects, exhibits, activities, and special topic sessions.

Kelley Smith Burk, director of the Florida Energy Office at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will open EnergyWhiz on Monday, May 3 at 10 a.m. via a Live Zoom broadcast.

FSEC-ERC Director James Fenton will follow with a presentation about how EnergyWhiz students can take charge of their energy future.

Each day, two new special energy-related topic sessions will be featured, ranging from sustainability and transportation to food and water. Learn about what individuals can do personally to combat climate change and how to find a path to an energy career.

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Fun, Hands-on Energy Activities Students Can Do Remotely. Register NOW for Virtual EnergyWhiz 2021!

EnergyWhiz is a renewable energy-focused event for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) capabilities through project-based learning activities. Students in Grades K through college, adults and families can participate in the virtual event with an opportunity to win awards. The virtual event will be on display to the public May 3–7, 2021. Teams must register by April 9th to participate.

Artistic renewable energy project using mosaic tiles to show scene of cat swatting at rotating butterfly. Live flower planter in front.
Artistic Energy Innovations project using mosaic tiles
Junior Solar Sprint model solar car
Model-size, Junior Solar Sprint car

This year’s competition categories are:

  • Energy Transfer Machine, (Grades 3-12) 
    Students transform materials into Rube Goldberg-type machines that perform an energy-related task and then submit a video of their success.
  • Energy Innovations, (K-12, College, Adults & Families)
    Partis design, engineer and market renewable energy projects that have real-world applicability. This year’s virtual event is expanded to include a wide range of categories, including:
    • Agriculture
    • Clean transportation
    • Green and energy-efficient buildings
    • Solar cooking
    • Water
    • Artwork or demonstration projects highlighting use of renewable energy
  • Junior Solar Sprint, (Grades 4-9)
    Students create a model-sized, solar-powered car that is judged on technology, craftsmanship, innovation and performance.
  • NEW T-Shirt Design Contest

FSEC Energy Research Center—a research institute of the University of Central Florida—in partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Energy, modified this traditionally in-person event to be virtual this year.

“Last year we had to cancel EnergyWhiz for the first time since 1999, so this year we’re trying a new format and modifying the rules,” said Susan Schleith, Energy Education program director at FSEC Energy Research Center. “Virtual EnergyWhiz will provide an opportunity for students and adults throughout Florida and beyond to participate in hands-on activities within a virtual environment.”


EnergyWhiz is sponsored by Florida Power & Light Company, SkyeTec, and LifeStyle Homes, and Kissimmee Utility Authority.

FPL, SkyeTec, LifeStyle Homes, Kissimmee Utility Authority logos

Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring EnergyWhiz should visit or contact Elizabeth Myron at

EnergyWhiz logo with sun on right and laptop on leftMore Information

Learn more about EnergyWhiz at:

For registration questions, contact Penny Hall at or Susan Schleith at

For more information or media questions, contact Sherri Shields at