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Rocket science for middle schoolers

Date: 7/11/2013





A group of talented middle school students have spent their summer designing rockets and building bridges thanks to a unique partnership between Alvernia University and Carpenter Technology Corporation. 

It’s been a summer to remember for a special group of Reading, Pa., middle school students who have spent part of their summer becoming rocket engineers and bridge builders. 

The budding scientists benefited from a unique partnership between a global corporation and a community-oriented university committed to making an impact on young people’s lives. Carpenter Technology Corporation teamed up with Alvernia University’s Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Alvernia science faculty this summer to offer 150 Reading, Pa., middle school students a free, week-long immersion into the world of science. 

Hosted by Alvernia University, the “Project Exploration” science institute engaged students in hands-on, real world learning activities related to chemistry, physics, engineering and ecology. In addition to projects and advanced coursework, the students participated in field trips to the Environmental Exploration Center at Angelica Park, and the Franklin Institute to complement their studies. 

Timothy R. Armstrong, vice president for research and product commercialization at Carpenter Technology encouraged students to consider science as a vocation, and to understand the value of innovative thinking during a morning pep talk, before heading to the O’Pake Science Center for group sessions in Alvernia’s advanced science laboratories. Carpenter Technology is committed to technical leadership and the advancement of research and development.

“The value of educational enrichment opportunities such as these, especially in the sciences, is immense,” said Jay Worrall, director of Alvernia’s Holleran Center. “Carpenter Technology Corporation really demonstrates its commitment to the young people in this community by so generously offering this camp. They are a tremendous community partner.”

Many of the Project Exploration campers came to Alvernia to refine their scientific knowledge in preparation for higher education at the college level and careers beyond. 

“The kids are really smart, and they all have different experiences,” said freshman nursing major Megan Wensel — one of a dozen Alvernia students volunteering for the camp. “They all have a science background and have an interest in pursuing a science career.”

The students, who will be going into grades seven to nine in the fall, built bridges, towers, and rockets — and tested their projects against the work of other campers.
“The kids all bring a different perspective to every project, and all of their ideas help contribute to their overall success here,” said Wensel.

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