UA hosts summer learning program

“In the summer of 2008 the University of Akron will be taking part in a statewide academic program called The Board of Regents-sponsored academies for high school juniors and seniors. UA will be taking part in three different aspects of this program, two in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and one for modern languages.”

In the summer of 2008 the University of Akron will be taking part in a statewide academic program called The Board of Regents-sponsored academies for high school juniors and seniors. UA will be taking part in three different aspects of this program, two in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and one for modern languages. The university will also host part of an engineering workshop this summer.

Professors participating in these programs include Edward Evans from the engineering department, Sandra Spickard Prettyman and Sajit Zachariah from the education department and Christopher Eustis from modern languages.

UA is also working with Ohio State University to conduct a two week summer academy in computational science and engineering. Evans and Spickard Prettyman will oversee program preparation and instruction at UA.

Twenty students and five teachers will complete the workshop at each site, Evans said. The purpose of the summer workshop is to increase students’ competence in computations through project based learning that is similar to the Project Lead the Way model of instruction.

Each university will also teach computer modeling and simulation skills to 20 Ohio high school students and five teachers, according to Evans.

The program will include lectures, project assignments, experiments and data gathering, and a group project. Participants will solve real-world problems using skills they have learned, much like Project Lead the Way, a student education program which operates around the state and the country.

Project Lead the Way Ohio is one of the strongest PLTW programs in the country.  PLTW Ohio is developing new courses for the PLTW Engineering and PLTW Biotechnology areas.  This workshop will help PLTW Ohio develop a computational methods course.

When asked how Engineering fit into this program, Evans responded: The projects that the students will work on will be based on engineering concepts and the skills gained during the workshop will be useful for many engineering courses. The workshop is a great opportunity for UA to help several students become better prepared for a career in engineering.

The0 other STEM-focused program is for biology, wetlands and streams as part of the Igniting Streams of Learning in Science program. Zachariah, assistant dean of administration and strategic initiatives, and associate professor in education is overseeing the program for the UA. Kent State University and Hiram College are also participating in this program.

The college of Education will be focusing on biology during a two week program, Zachariah said. The program will be dealing with water investigation, lots of hands on learning using some of the newest technology out there, and even doing a field study on Lake Erie.

The program will consist of high school students, professors, undergraduate students, and graduate students – creating learning communities, Zachariah said.

Part of the seminars will be hosted at the Hiram College campus.

The focus of the program is to get students interested in science. We are not focusing strictly on science field students but rather all types of students to get them interested in the STEM program, he said.

There was a similar program that Akron was a part of last year and it was deemed a model program by the state of Ohio. We are expecting even better results this year, Zachariah said. This program gives the University of Akron an opportunity to show why we are a university that is setting the standard in excellence.

The third program is the Regents’ modern languages academy in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Hindi. Christopher Eustis, department chair and professor of modern languages will be taking part in this program.

This program will bring many opportunities to Akron, Eustis said. It gives potential Akron students a chance to help address the need for multilingual education across the whole nation. Modern Language plays a critical role to all aspects of foreign policy, trading, and anything else dealing with the world out side America.

UA will also partner with Bowling Green University, Oberlin College and the Summit County Educational Service Center.