Special to Civitas Media
August 16, 2014
With summertime quickly beginning to dwindle away, the unhurried weeks of June and July will likely be engraved forever into the collective memories of the students who took part in the Upward Bound Math Science Program camp sponsored by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. During the recently concluded six-weeks program, 35 high school students from Harlan County High School and Bell County High School participated in the summer program that proved to be a time to learn, grow and explore – seeing things many in the group had never had the chance to experience, according to Upward Bound Math Science director Dr. Michelle Dykes-Anderson.
Upward Bound Math Science is a federally funded educational program with the goal of inspiring students from low income families, or potential first-generation college students, to complete high school and pursue post-secondary education. The program as operated by Southeast is to inspire students to pursue (STEM) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics careers and expose them to different career paths.
During the recent session, students took part in classroom group projects including the design of a website for the SKCTC Upward Bound Math Science program. Another project was a detailed study of water quality within the area in order to determine which of the sources was more pure for consumption, including that of bottled water.
During the summer session, students stayed in a local hotel and throughout the day attended classes taught at Harlan County High School and on the Harlan campus of SKCTC. “How thankful we are for the wonderful hospitality shown to us by Harlan County High School and its principal Edna Burkhart and for allowing our students to use the facility and equipment,” said Dykes-Anderson.
It was, however, not all hard work for the group, she noted. In the evenings students had the opportunity to see movies, go bowling, travel to the water park in Barbourville, participate in intramural athletic competitions and attend Upward Bound Day held at Eastern Kentucky University where the group took a campus tour, met with faculty and attended a dance.
Students who take part in the Upward Bound Math Science program receive a stipend while receiving assistance in their preparation for college. “We offer incentives as the students receive quality and specialized instruction during the summer term and one Saturday each month,” explained Dykes-Anderson. “Upward Bound Math Science is a great opportunity, we are always looking for qualified and enthusiastic candidates for the program.”
Prospective students must be enrolled at either Bell County or Harlan County high schools. They are ushered into the program following their eighth grade year and stay throughout, taking college-level courses after their high school graduation.
After applying themselves in the classroom for over a month, the group concluded the summer with a banquet and awards ceremony with each student being honored. Brandon Robinson, an alumnus of Southeast and the Upward Bound program who is a staff meteorologist at WYMT-TV, was the guest speaker.
The summer term was capped off by a cultural and educational trip; four days on the road seeing exciting things and learning much more about the STEM-related curricula.
The students went first to Chattanooga, taking in the Tennessee Aquarium. They went to Rock City and to historic Lookout Mountain, but it was their next stop that would prove to be an eye-opening experience for many as they motored to Huntsville, Ala., and a tour of Redstone Arsenal. Redstone is home to the U.S. Army Material Command, the Army’s Aviation and Missile Command, the Missile Defense Agency of the Department of Defense and home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
It was in Huntsville that Dr. Lynn Moore, the president of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, joined the students. Dr. Moore is a native of Huntsville and her father worked for a number of years at Redstone Arsenal. She said she was eager for the students to see the facility and arranged for them to take a “behind the scenes” tour, an opportunity rarely afforded to groups.
The Huntsville portion of the trip began with a visit to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering and Support Center. Students were treated to presentations and demonstrations by Boyce L. Ross, director of engineering and Patrick M. Haas, director of chemical demilitarization, among many other engineers and architects who direct building and development projects all over the world. “Our students had a chance to visit with these professionals to learn why they chose career paths that they are now so passionate about, and to learn about internship opportunities in the STEM field once they complete high school,” she said.
The first stop on the Arsenal was lunch at the café on post where Lester M. Ross, Jr., Dr. Moore’s brother and a design engineer at Boeing International, gave students a presentation on his work on the International Space Station. The group then rode to the middle of the spacious property which Dr. Moore said resembles the Florida Everglades and to the Rocket Test Area 5 site where the group climbed to the top of a building and onto the roof to view a live test firing of the engine of a Hellfire missile. After the group viewed the video of the test from the communications conference room, the students were escorted to the underground concrete bunker and into the mile-long communication tunnel that has been in use since World War I. The next stop was the NASA Command and Control facility where the students had a chance to view specialists communicating with astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
The two-day tour of Huntsville concluded with a stop at Hudson Alpha in Research Park where students learned about cutting-edge research and the development of immunogenome research from a group of scientists and bio-tech chemists at the non-profit organization. The final stop was a tour of the Huntsville campus of the University of Alabama.
Upward Bound Math Science staff for the summer term includes Dykes-Anderson, director; Amanda Creech, Jennifer Brackett, Patricia Baker, Carolyn Sundy, Tierra Sundy, Jennifer Carmical and instructors Scott Pace, Theresa Banks, Amanda Creech and Jennifer Brackett. Tutor/counselors were Danielle Brock, Aaron Garland, Braxton Fields, Ruth Frost and Zachery Howard.
Students participating in the 2014 session include: Miranda Anderson, Courtney Baker, Summer Bishop, Sadie Blevins, Tahj Bryant, Alanna Cavins, Mitchell Cobb, Charles Farmer, Haelyn Farmer, Shelbee Farmer, Julia Gabbard, Leonna Gambrel, A.J. Hall, Breana Hogue, Summer Hoskins, Sierra Jarvis, Caleb Johnson, Tia King, Aaron Mefford, Dalton McClain, Deona Mimes, Elizabeth Pace, Faith Posey, Kristin Pruitt, Brianna Rogue, Sara Skidmore, Christa Sowards, Terrence Stephens, Jessica Stewart, Tamber Taylor, Austin Turner, James Bengie, Taylor Cobb, Cassie Green, Jacob Morgan, Paige Parks, McKayla Wyrick and Caitlin Zachery.