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ORAU Hosts ARC-ORNL Summer Institute

Appalachian teachers and students partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists for summer learning and fun

July 25, 2011

ARC-ORNL Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute participants

Click image to enlarge.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—Most students view summer vacation as a break from school and learning. But this was not the case for 33 exceptional high school students, along with 9 teachers from across 12 Appalachian states, who chose to take part in a two-week, hands-on camp focused on math, science, and technology.

The Appalachian Regional Commission, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Oak Ridge Associated Universities hosted the 22nd annual Math—Science—Technology Institute from July 9-22, during which the students and teachers worked on cutting-edge science projects with mentors at ORNL and participated in a variety of East Tennessee tours and activities.

Students were nominated by their state governor and chosen to participate in the program by ARC, which selected the students based on their potential to excel in math and science, continue in higher learning, and to influence others in their communities as the leaders of tomorrow.

Since 2000, the program has provided a total of 435 students and 185 teachers with in-lab learning experiences at one of the nation’s premier national laboratories. In addition, they have had the opportunity to visit some of the area’s most popular educational and recreational attractions.

The two week camp kicked-off with ropes course at Mountain Challenge and a guided tour of the Maryville College campus. Students and teachers were then divided into six teams led by mentors and scientists.

The students were assigned projects with topics ranging from supercomputers to the design of novel polymeric materials using computer simulation, visualization of 3D molecular structures using
X-Ray and neutron scattering, and robotic systems engineering and engineering development.

The teachers divided into four research teams, which focused on chemical sciences, physics, environmental sciences, and materials sciences.

During this year’s institute, the participants visited the Museum of Appalachia, the American Museum of Science and Energy and various department tours at the University of Tennessee. At ORNL, the institute’s attendees also toured the Spallation Neutron Source, the supercomputing facilities, the Center for Nanophase Materials Science, and the Graphite Reactor.

The group also visited various local attractions, including Dollywood and Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, and took a riverboat dinner cruise aboard the Star of Knoxville Riverboat.

The summer institute concluded with a ceremony attended by ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl, ORNL Director for Graduate Education and University Partnerships Dr. Jim Roberto, and ORAU’s President and CEO Andy Page. Gohl explained the purpose of the summer science program was to “invest in students’ futures with the hope they will continue their education, find their passion and build a career around math or science.” During the ceremony, the students and teachers gave presentations and demonstrations of their projects.

In addition to the institute, ARC, ORNL and ORAU hosted a Middle School Science Camp for 25 students from 11 Appalachian states. These students also presented their research projects at a closing ceremony, which focused on solar energy, biofuels, and wind.

The Appalachian Regional Commission is a unique federal-state partnership established by Congress in 1965 to bring Appalachia into the mainstream of the American economy. Through development of the 3,090 mile Appalachian Development Highway System and a range of development programs in areas such as education, training, health care, telecommunications, entrepreneurship, job creation and basic infrastructure, ARC programs help reduce isolation and improve the lives and economic opportunities of the 24 million people living in 420 counties across 13 states that make up Appalachia.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Media Contacts

Pam Bonee
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Wendy West
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Cell: 865.207.7953