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High School Students and Teachers from 12 Appalachian States Complete 2012 ARC–Oak Ridge Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute

July 2012


OAK RIDGE, Tennessee, July 23, 2012—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) hosted the 23rd annual ARC-ORNL Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute July 7–20, during which 36 high school students and 14 high school teachers from 12 Appalachian states worked on cutting-edge science projects with mentors at ORNL and participated in a variety of tours and activities in Tennessee.

Students were nominated by their state's governor and chosen by ARC to participate in the hands-on program. They were selected based on their potential to excel in math and science, to continue in higher learning, and to influence others in their communities as future leaders.

Since 2000, the program has provided a total of 471 students and 199 teachers with in-laboratory learning experience at one of the nation's premier national labs. In addition, participants have had the opportunity to visit some of the area's most popular educational and recreational attractions.

The two-week camp kicked off with a guided tour of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a ropes course at Mountain Challenge on the campus of Maryville College. Students and teachers were then divided into ten teams led by mentors and scientists.

The students were assigned projects with topics that included supercomputers, the design of novel polymeric materials using computer simulation, visualization of 3-D molecular structures using X-ray and neutron scattering, fabrication and testing of fiber-reinforced plastic composites, and robotic systems engineering.

The teachers were grouped into four research teams that focused on chemical sciences, physics, environmental sciences, and materials sciences.

Through this year's program, participants toured ORNL's Spallation Neutron Source, Center for Nanophase Materials Science, and Graphite Reactor, as well as its supercomputing facilities. They also visited the American Museum of Science and Energy and the Museum of Appalachia, and toured a number of departments at the University of Tennessee.

The institute concluded with a July 20 closing ceremony attended by ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl; James Roberto, ORNL associate laboratory director for science and technology partnerships; and Craig Rigell, ORNL associate director of science education programs.

In his remarks to the students, Gohl noted that it is "through programs and camps such as this that we invest in the future of America and begin to excite young scientists and engineers who will someday help solve our nation's most critical issues."

In addition to the high school institute, ARC, ORNL, and ORAU hosted a middle school summer science academy attended by 26 students. Participating middle school students presented their research, which focused on solar energy, biofuels, and wind, at the July 20 closing ceremony.