The U.S. Department of Energy recently published an article highlighting Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs PORTSfuture Program STEM activities. PORTSfuture is funded through a grant from the US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office and serves four southern Ohio counties near the site which is currently undergoing decommissioning.
Over the past ten years, the Voinovich School PORTSfuture STEM programs have engaged rural Appalachian students from kindergarten to college in a variety of activities. STEM initiatives focus on building students’ technology, energy, environment, entrepreneurship and water quality knowledge through in-class curriculum and activities, business pitch competitions, science fairs, summer STEM enrichment programs and after school clubs. PORTSfuture is also in the process of developing a virtual STEM enrichment academy to expand their reach to students in the region.
“By converting our STEM offerings to virtual platforms this year, we are being responsive to the new realities of remote learning while providing constructive, hands-on opportunities for students during these challenging times,” Stephanie Howe, PORTSfuture Program Director at the Voinovich School said. “We try to keep their interest in STEM careers for the future. The earlier we can encourage kids to think about career options, the more opportunities they will have post-graduation.”