On Oct. 10, Lock Haven University and Keystone Central School District held a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) career event that included a career fair during the school day and a career night that same evening, both held in the Central Mountain High School gymnasium.
During the day, students in the high school English classes made their way through four stations in the gym, staffed by LHU professors. Disciplines represented included biology, chemistry, geology, physics, computer science and mathematics. The faculty offered simple and engaging, hands-on activities to pique the students’ interest.
Ariana Newlen, a sophomore from Lock Haven, said she liked the variety of options that were represented during the career fair. “It opens the kids up to what there is outside of school,” she said, also noting these types of events can help influence the students’ career path.
Carrie Adams-Smith, 12th grade counselor at CMHS, said some students know about the growing career opportunities in STEM fields and others do not, and the event might give them a “spark” to pursue a degree or career in one of those areas. “The event is a great collaboration with the school and the university,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for the students to see the STEM options that are available to them at the collegiate level.”
Nolan Strouse, a junior from Lock Haven, expressed his interest in chemistry — specifically astrochemistry and astronomy, an interest he has had since he was very young. “The fair has good material. Especially the VR (virtual reality) headset. (The professors) are presenting the information well,” he added.
Deb Kline, CMHS assistant principal, said the event allowed the students to learn what is available to them at the university and to link what they are learning to real life. “A lot of times there is no connection between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them,” she said, adding that she heard a student make a connection between the geology presentation and how it is important to the farm work they want to do.
Michael Cullin, LHU physics professor and lead organizer from the university for the event, said the fair provided the students with information about STEM disciplines; education and training needed to pursue careers in those fields and programs leading to STEM degrees at LHU.
“We all tried to engage the students with interesting demonstrations of various phenomena, tools of the trade and applications of many principles,” Cullin said, adding there are unique opportunities for rewarding careers in STEM. “Their very nature keeps those who work in those fields on the cutting edge of innovation and that is very exciting work,” he added.
During the evening session, students, parents/guardians and community members were invited to return to the high school to learn more about STEM careers. The program incorporated agencies, businesses, corporations and manufacturers that require or prefer STEM degrees for entry or advanced level employment.
“We are very fortunate to have a university in our community that is willing to work with our students and realize their goals for the future,” Kline added.
“We are neighbors first and foremost,” Cullin said about the importance of collaborations between the university and the local school district. “Our relationship is symbiotic — a thriving local school district helps LHU thrive and vice versa. The university can also benefit by attracting local students to attend LHU and LHU can offer many opportunities to local school students because of our proximity to one another.”
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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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