Gowanda teacher attends annual ORAU event in Tennessee

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. —John Swanson of Cherry Creek, New York was one of 15 high school teachers attending the 29th annual High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute in Oak Ridge. Swanson is a science teacher at Gowanda Central High School in Cherry Creek.

Swanson and the other teachers joined 37 high school students to spend two weeks fully engaged in math, science, engineering and technology (STEM), including learning experiences at one of the country’s leading national laboratories. Participants to the educational event, held July 7 to 20, were selected from across 11 Appalachian states.

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and ORAU hosted the exceptional professional learning experience. Since 2000, the program has provided this opportunity to a total of 684 students and 283 teachers.

Teachers and students participated in research projects led by ORNL scientists and mentors. The teachers focused on chemical sciences, neutron sciences, molecular biophysics and cytogenetic biodosimetry. Students investigated supercomputers, robotics systems and engineering development, among other topics. Teachers and students had ample time to ask questions during discovery sessions at the national laboratory, and they benefitted from the camaraderie and networking with scientists and mentors.

“The ARC-ORNL summer institute is often the first intensive exposure many of these students have to STEM fields,” said Tim Thomas, ARC Federal co chair. “Every year, we hear from program alumnae about how their summer institute experiences at ORNL have helped them reach their academic potential and inspired a lifetime of learning and leadership.”

“Many exciting opportunities open up for participants at the High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute and Middle School Summer Science Academy. Often, participants may develop a lifelong love of STEM subjects and continue to pursue STEM careers. Teachers gain a renewed passion for promoting STEM subjects with knowledge of emerging sciences and technologies,” said Marie Westfall, who manages the program for ORAU.

During this year’s educational sessions, participants toured the historic Graphite Reactor and ORNL research and supercomputing facilities. By visiting East Tennessee’s iconic science and research facilities, participants learned about career possibilities in STEM fields.

To see a complete list of students and teachers, and learn more about their experiences, orau.org/arc-ornl/2018/index.html.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

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).