After debuting last year, a partnership between Penn State and State High that promotes scientific research looks to continue its success.
EnvironMentors, a national program with 12 chapters, pairs high school students with university educators who serve as advisors for rigorous science projects. Penn State professor Greg Jenkins approached the high school about starting a local chapter, leading to five students taking part in the pilot year.
“The EnvironMentors program creates opportunities for historically underrepresented students to explore STEM learning activities,” said Tonya Black, State High’s faculty representative with the chapter. “Students partner with PSU graduate students and faculty to create STEM projects that benefit our world on local, national and global scales.”
Natalia Carrasco, Jacob Hodge, Ire Mayegun, Shawn Oputa and Ty Todd were the charter members. In June, the National Council for Science and Environment, which coordinates the program, invited all five to present their work at a national conference in Washington, D.C. Todd and Carrasco wound up with a first place for a project titled “Particles Matter: The Creation of a Low Cost Sensor Network,” each winning a $2,500 scholarship.
This fall, the Penn State/State High chapter is seeking more aspiring scientists and engineers. “As we enter year two of the program, we are seeking to increase the number of participants so that as many students as possible can experience this unique and beneficial opportunity,” Black said.