Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, OU-C introduce area students to possible career paths during STEM Academy


Students studied environmental geography
under the tutelage of OU-C faculty member Gary Haynes
Several area high school students relinquished time at the pool or other typical leisurely pursuits to get a head start on their academic and professional paths this summer.

These area high school students had the opportunity to earn college credit while exploring career options in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics during the STEM Academy at Ohio University-Chillicothe this summer. Seven students got a jump-start on their academic and professional careers during the four-week program, which was offered in partnership with Fluor-B&W Portsmouth.

The program offered an invaluable primer for the students’ academic and possible professional careers.

The students were able to earn a total of eight college credits while taking the classes “Introduction to Probability and Statistics” and “Environmental Geography” free of charge. Additionally, they were able to explore career fields in the STEM areas and toured the former Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

“It gave the students a taste of college life and let them experience college-level academic expectations and the faster pace of college courses,” said OU-C faculty member Dywayne Nicely, who taught the probability and statistics class. “A good amount of information was thrown at them in a four-week session. In fact, the amount of work was probably on par with a full year’s worth of a typical high school math class. Overall, I was impressed with the work ethic of some of the students. All of them were outstanding in their attendance and ability to stay on task. It was a good experience with good young people.”

The students seized the moment, with the consensus that the program was challenging and worth the effort, especially in terms of long-term outcomes.

Megan Newberry
“This reduces my costs for college and I am getting some credits out of the way,” said Megan Newberry, an Adena High School graduate who plans to attend OU-C in the fall and major in nursing. “It has been pretty difficult, but that is what I expected. It has helped with the adjustment to college and realizing the amount of studying that is required. Since I am going to attend OU-C, this also offered a chance to get used to the campus, and I am glad I did this.”

Morgehn Gordon
“This exposes you to courses and allows you to be better rounded, and I wanted it because of the math class that was offered since I plan to major in math in college,” said Morgehn Gordon, who will be a junior at Unioto this year.

Makenzi Peek
“I definitely feel that I am better prepared for college,’ said Makenzi Peek, who will be a senior at Adena High School this fall. “I now have a better grasp of environmental geography and feel more comfortable when it comes to math.”

Aric Ousley
Aric Ousley, who will be a senior at Vinton County High School this year, said, “I was at first interested in the program because of the opportunity to earn college credit. I also wanted to see the nuclear site and what they do there. This has been worth it. I now have some class work out of the way toward my college degree.”

The program underscores the sponsor’s commitment to the region.

“Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is committed to being an active corporate leader to the communities that have supported nuclear and environmental remediation missions at the DOE (Department of Energy) Portsmouth site for more than 50 years,” Fluor-B&W Portsmouth Community Relations Specialist Elizabeth Scott said. “Through a Community Commitment Fund, Fluor-B&W Portsmouth will target regional spending in the categories of Economic Development, Charitable Outreach and Educational Outreach. The Educational Outreach Program will be targeted to enhance educational technology, curriculum development, and public understanding within the four-county area. We have selected four key initiatives to support neighboring schools, promote workforce development, and create opportunities for higher education.”

“Last January, Fluor-B&W Portsmouth presented a $6,000 gift to Ohio University – Chillicothe to help establish or enhance current science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. As a result, the Fluor-B&W Portsmouth and Ohio University – Chillicothe S.T.E.M. Academy was created,” Scott said.

Students participating in the program ranked in the top 20 percent of their high school class and are residents of Jackson, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties.

A focus of the summer program was the blending of academics and career exploration, as underscored by the field trip to the Piketon facility.

“A key goal of the summer program was to introduce students to careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said OU-C faculty member Gary Haynes, who taught the environmental geography course. “Students were quite interested in the subject matter included in the coursework, and we discussed many different professional career fields in our student of environmental science.”

“Students learned about the industrial facilities and all of the steps in the production of enriched uranium,” Haynes said I discussing the trip to the Gaseous Diffusion Plant. “Attention was also given to many environmental aspects of the site cleanup to assure that air, water and land at the site will be suitable for alternate uses in future years. Students were able to talk with engineers and technicians trained in various fields.”

OU-C student Jordan Clark’s vocal skills earn her shot at ‘Ohio Idol’ title

Ohio University-Chillicothe student Jordan Clark, an accomplished vocalist, is competing for the title of “Ohio Idol” while touring at several county fairs this summer before concluding at the Ohio State Fair on July 28, when the winner will be crowned. Clark is among 10 contestants who were chosen after performing at the Red, White and Boom event in Columbus in early July.

A recent Chillicothe Gazette story details Clark’s Ohio Idol journey: http://www.chillicothegazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012207090307

This is the latest accomplishment for Clark, a business administration major at OU-C. A news blog story chronicled her musical aspirations and career pursuits: http://www.blogger.com/goog_423727696