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Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Always an adventure with STEM
It was quite an adventurous week for several area youths exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities at Bloomsburg University from geocaching to encoding to an inflation of a cow lung. And that was just in one day.
BU’s Regional STEM Education Center recently hosted 80 campers entering fifth through 10th grade for its Great STEM Adventure Camps where they explored different aspects of the STEM spectrum through presentations, activities and demonstrations.
- Explorers (5th to 6th grade) — had hands-on fun with rocks, geography and the environment. Campers learned how to use data loggers to examine chlorophyll and photosynthesis with plants in the field and lab.
- Investigators (7th to 8th grade) — used science and math skills to investigate the world from DNA finger printing and brain waves to environmental biology. Campers brushed up on math skills through fun activities.
- Innovators (9th to 10th grade) — discovered how to use computers to investigate crimes, create programming and decode encryption. Campers honed their math skills for high school and college as they worked to master the world of technology.
Assisting in the camp experience were eight middle level education major students, who helped organize and teach the entire week along with several COST faculty members.
STEM programs receive grant funding
The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. (CPWDC) granted Bloomsburg University’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics initiatives over $40,000 in funding for tuition, books, transportation, supplies and food costs.
The STEM Magnet Program, founded in 2013, allows high-achieving high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to get a head start on a college career in the STEM disciplines. From the CPWDC grant, an estimated $300 per person will go to cover partial tuition and book costs for up to 60 students, adding up to a total of $18,000.
Another $6,000 will benefit the Summer STEM Teacher Institute for 20 kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. The institute will take place in three parts, with one week spent at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown, one week spent at BU, and a field trip to the Whitaker Science Center in Harrisburg. This will be STEM’s first teacher academy.
The rest of the funding will go to the operation and implementation of the Great STEM Adventure Camps, hosted on the Bloomsburg University campus.
Putting the field in Field Geology
To close out the spring semester and transition into the summer session, group of students from Bloomsburg University’s Department of Environmental, Geographical, and Geological Sciences had the educational experience of a lifetime.
EGGS 330 – Special Topics in Field Geology is designed to give students an opportunity to observe a wide variety of earth processes, apply their knowledge, and reinforce skills in geological observation and interpretation. By participating in this intense, immersive, field-based course, students got a first-hand encounter with the geology and environmental issues of Southern California and the western United States.
The first four days of class took place on campus in Bloomsburg, where the 14 students researched two assigned topics and prepared a poster and write-up/hand-out for each. They then headed west on day five, led by faculty Jennifer Whisner, Cynthia Venn and Benjamin Franek.
After flying into Santa Ana, Calif., students and faculty left for 11 days along the coast:
- from Long Beach to San Onofre State Beach
- east to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in the mountains near Julian
- further east to the deserts and oases of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Joshua Tree National Park
- the Salton Sea and Imperial Dunes to the south
- north to more recent volcanic features at Amboy Crater and the Cima Volcanic Field
- and then west to see Rainbow Basin and other geologic wonders before crossing the San Andreas Fault and the San Bernardino Mountains.
Students create web app from scratch
A homegrown interactive application has come to Bloomsburg University’s website, giving real-time readings of electric power usage across lower campus. This new online feature, developed this past spring by a group of computer science majors, has replaced the Lucid Dashboard program on the Solar Energy Educational Kiosk outside of Ben Franklin Hall as one of its four operating programs. In addition, a Live Electric Power meter has been added to the Today page, displaying real-time utility data for lower campus.
“It was gratifying to do something from scratch, especially something for a web interface,” said Collin Shoop ’15, who served as the project lead. “A project like this requires a lot of planning and collaboration. The interdisciplinary experience we gained from this will be very marketable.”
A look at what lies beneath the dig
DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology, and a group of Bloomsburg University students hit the road each spring in mid-May to spend four weeks in southern Ohio digging at a Hopewell habitation site.
The archeological field school experience enables student teams to rely on new imaging technologies to uncover another living site of the Mound Builders from 2,000 years ago.
"Out in the hot sun, we dig and sift. Occasionally, someone will yell out “bladelet” when they find a small, thin flint blade, still sharp enough to cut your fingers 2,000 years later, and Doc Wymer does her famous bladelet dance," says Keelan McDonald, a mass communications major and anthropology minor, who is among the students blogging about the experience.
‘Post Glitter’ next exhibit in Haas Gallery
Photography and digital printing by Bloomsburg University’s newest art and art history faculty member will be on display in the Haas Gallery of Art this summer. A reception for, “Post Glitter,” featuring works by Dave Kube, assistant professor of graphic design, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The exhibit and reception are open to the public free of charge.
“Recently, there has been an increased focus in uncovering queer aspects of history and reanalyzing the past and present around contemporary queer perspectives,” said Kube. “The imagery in ‘Post Glitter’ acts as a catalyst for renegotiating our understanding of power and knowledge by using iconic images or graphics found from various sources. My goal is to stain notions of history and contemporary culture by re-appropriating the image and the narration that it contains.”
Kube earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Illinois, Springfield, and a master of fine arts in photography from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia. His works have been featured in exhibits in Philadelphia, Chicago, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.
Performing arts director honored for service
Randall Presswood, executive director of performing arts and programming at Bloomsburg University, received the annual service award for outstanding contributions to the industry during the Pennsylvania Presenters’ spring arts conference.
Presswood, who has worked at BU for 22 years, received the award in recognition of his volunteer contributions to the Pennsylvania Presenters and to the field as a whole. He also was elected to the organization’s board of directors for the third time.
The annual service award, established in 2009, is given to an individual who exceeds the expectations of his or her employer and the Pennsylvania Presenters organization and includes a piece of art created by a Pennsylvania artist. In recognition of Presswood’s trademark red sneakers, his award is a crimson glass sneaker by Dennis Gardner from the ArtsQuest Glass Studio in Bethlehem.