STEM Attracts Families

 

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What do dissected pigs, lasers, snakes, equines, rockets, LEGOs and drones have in common? The Mineral County STEM Festival!
Faculty, staff, students and community members volunteered to present a variety of activities on campus March 24. The festival introduced children in Kindergarten through 12 grade to science, technology, engineering and math concepts through hands-on activities. About 1,000 visitors attended the STEM Festival.

The festival included displays put together by the students, faculty and the surrounding community. The Potomac State College agriculture department had horses and goats on display for the families. The equine students were showing the kids how to tack horses and explained their daily routines in the barn. The goat farm also brought some goats to the quad for the children to interact with.

“I think it is important for kids to feel comfortable around animals and gain experience about them,” said PSC equine student Mallie Otoole.

Ameicorps sent representatives from the Americorps Forrest Service and the Americorps Fish and Wildlife to teach the community about non-native invasive species. The point of their booth was to help educate the public on how to identify non-native invasive species and help reduce their spread and the harm that these species can cause to the environment.

“The earlier that children are informed the earlier they can get involved,” said Americorps Forest Service worker Haley Hutchins.

The Mary F. Shipper library had many classic displays, such as the virtual reality glasses that have been a hit at past STEM festivals. The families were allowed to put on the VR glasses and then they were read a story while being shown images through the glasses that went along with the story. A brand new drone display was also being shown in the library. David Miller of the PSC library was educating the public on drone safety and the importance of drones in the future of our society. The children were also allowed to fly the drones through an obstacle course that the library put up.

The sciences were very popular at the STEM festival. Professor of Biology Dr. Gerald Wilcox was showing off the difference between healthy lungs and a smoker’s lungs using real pig lungs. He used the pig lungs to show how smoking can discolor a person’s lungs. There were also dissected fetal pigs being shown to the children. They were even allowed to look through their organs.

“I was sad because they were dead, but I learned that their hearts are really small,” said seven-year-old Juniper Judy.

The Potomac Valley Chapter of the Mountain State Valley Council for the Blind sent representatives to the festival to educate people on technologies that allow for blind people to live independently. These technologies include the “Brail Note” that allows for blind people to type and the “Seeing Eye” application that allows for blind people to read through the cameras on their phone.

There were a lot of engineering presentations on display. The PSC engineering department had a gokart that they built on the quad for families to drive. Orbital ATK was present to teach children about the anatomy of rockets by letting them make their own rockets out of paper and launching them using a using an air bellow. The community robotics team “Rambunctious Robots” was showing off the robots that they built. These robots included a tank, one that used pressure sensors to push off of surfaces and one that is programmed to give high fives.

West Virginia University sophomore Olivia Young was present on behalf of the Science Public Outreach Team, a team founded by NASA and Greenbank Observatory, to educate on space and radio waves. She was running an exhibit that was showing how meteors strike the earth.

“I think it is important for kids to take an interest in science early because as we get older science becomes less about discovery and more about memorization. And it is important to keep that passion in discovery because it really goes a long way,” said Young.

Stoplight to be Stationed on State Street Should Secure Strolling Students’ Safety this September

 

 

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  “I used to have friends who’d call and ask me to help them cross the street,” said Steffan Chapman, a PSC student. 

  For some PSC students, crossing 220 from Catamount Place is difficult due to the lack of a stoplight or crosswalk. The closest crosswalk is on St. Cloud Street, a block from Fort Ave.

  Recent events at West Virginia University Morgantown campus have revealed the urgency and importance for proper student traffic safety. On February 1, 2018 Leah Berhanu, a WVU student, was hit at the intersection of Morrill Way and Patterson Drive near Evansdale Campus entrance. Berhanu was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

What is PSC doing to prevent this? 

To prevent an accident like the one in Morgantown, the city of Keyser and PSC administration have plans to place a stoplight at the bottom of State street. This light will create a safer, more convenient place for students to cross. Discussion of the stop light began nearly two years ago under former campus president Dr. Colelli, said PSC Chief of Police Brian Kerling. 

  Construction of the light will be completed no later than the end of September 2018, according to West Virginia Division of Highways’ Kenneth Clohan who oversees the placement of stoplights and other road signs in seven WV districts. Until the light is in place, PSC drivers and pedestrians can take precautions to remain safe.

What can drivers and pedestrians do until light is installed?

“Actually pay attention,” said Kerling when giving advice to drivers and pedestrians on campus.  Kerling emphasizes that both drivers and pedestrians need to be completely aware of their surroundings.

Kerling said he was on Campus Drive recently in the patrol car, and a female was walking in the middle of the road. She had her face down, looking at her cell phone. The female headed straight towards the patrol car, and Kerling had to come to a complete stop before she walked into his vehicle. Kerling encourages pedestrians to use the sidewalks and look up from their phones. 

  WVU released a list of tips to pedestrians and drivers on how to stay safe on the streets. For pedestrians, WVU encourages students to obey all traffic signals, make eye contact with drivers, show your intentions of crossing and always assume a car won’t stop for you. The safe use of cell phone usage was emphasized within the tips.

  A study conducted by the National Safety Council in 2015 shows that cell phone usage while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. It also showed that one out of every four car accidents is caused by texting and driving.

In 2015 alone, 3,477

total deaths and 391,000 injuries were due to distracted driving in the U.S.

Source: DMV.com

  “When someone else is driving and they are checking their phone, eating or fidgeting with the radio, I tend to feel very nervous and uncomfortable,” said PSC freshman Mariah Boyce.   

  “I’m sometimes tempted to smack their phone out of their hand,” said Katie Shreve, PSC freshman, “it makes me cautious to ride with them again.”

  Most drivers will acknowledge that texting or being distracted while driving is dangerous. According to AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% of those students admit to doing it anyway. “To be honest, I eat, text and talk on the phone while I drive,” admits one PSC student who wishes to remain anonymous. 

  WVU campus administrators are working to protect their students and prevent any more tragic accidents. Kerling stated that last school year signs instructing pedestrians to use side walks were placed on State Street. 

   In Morgantown, University Police recently placed portable signs at busy intersections where accidents have occurred. Morgantown campus’ SGA also held two safety walks near busy intersections to identify where areas may need additional safety measures for pedestrians. “We recognize that all these immediate actions are not permanent,” said Rob Alsop, WVU vice president for strategic initiatives in a WVU press release, “but long-term solutions will take time to investigate and then implement appropriately.”

Hannah Nesselrodt Named Outstanding Student of the Year

Dr. Jennifer Orlikoff presents Hannah Nesselrodt Outstanding Student of the Year award.

 Hannah Nesselrodt earned the 2018 E. William Noland Outstanding Student of the Year Award.  She received a cash award and her name will be inscribed on a permanent plaque in the Administrative Building.  

  Five students were nominated for this prestigious award: Nesseltrodt, Aaron Smith, Sara Sredy, Alexander Bowlby and Andrew Haines. 

  Nesselrodt, Smith and Sredy’s names were selected to be inscribed on the Duke Anthony Whitmore/Henry Louis Gates Jr. Academic Achievement Wall.

  Nesselrodt, a Petersburg resident, is a biology major with the goal of attending the WVU School of Medicine. She is a member of the Rotaract Club, Life Science Club, Campus Crusade for Christ Club, Catamounts Against Cancer Club, and Cross Impact Club. She is an active member of the Petersburg Church of God where she volunteers as a video/music technician, counselor for the Petersburg Regional Junior Youth Camp, assistant counselor for Regional Senior Youth Camp, and a facilitator for church fundraisers. She has been a patient care assistant at Grant Memorial Hospital.

  Aaron Smith, a journalism major from Romney, serves as the editor of the “Pasquino” college newspaper. He is the founder and manager of POParazzi, a popculture and entertainment website. He is a published author of two young-adult fantasy novels. He volunteers with the Hampshire County Committee on Aging, The Embassy Theatre and the Hampshire County Development Authority. He is featured in the Allegany Magazine’s “40 under 40” edition.

    Sara Sredy, from Somerset, Pennsylvania, is a biology major. Through Messiah Lutheran Church, she volunteers in a variety of activities. She also volunteers with Interact Club, Somerset County Mobile Food Bank, Somerset Hospital Giving Tree Project, Patriot Manor Nursing Home and Somerset County Humane Society. At PSC, she is Life Science Club Secretary, Catamounts Against Cancer vice president, and a member of Campus Crusade for Christ and Cross Impact.

  Alexander Bowlby is a pre-pharmacy major from Maysville. He is a math and science tutor at the Academic Success Center, raised money for the Christmas Angel charity program with the Life Science Club, and prepared the sets for West Virginia Theater East.

  Andrew Haines, from Springfield, is a psychology major. Through his involvement at Springfield Assembly of God, he volunteers with the youth group, Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and summer camp.

(L-R) Sara Sredy, Hannah Nesselrodt, and Aaron Smith’s names were selected to be inscribed on the Duke Anthony Whitmore/Henry Louis Gates Jr. Academic Achievement Wall.

PSC Students Engage in Diversity Among Peers

 

2018 Diversity Ambassadors Group Photo color

Potomac State College students embrace diversity and get to know someone different than them. The students participated in a five week initiative where they spent time with a peer who came from a different cultural, religious, or racial backgrounds. Photo by Potomac State College.

Potomac State College encourages its students to embrace diversity and explore new cultures, and that was the ultimate goal of the Diversity Ambassador Initiative. This initiative challenged around 24 PSC students from different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds to get to know each other over the course of five weeks. 

  Before the program began, the volunteers participated in a questionnaire to compare compatibility. Students were then partnered and spent the next five weeks together. Through the program, participants gained points from doing activities together like eating meals, studying in the library or just hanging out. 

   “We’d do things like play video games and just talk about what we go through in life and the struggles we have had to overcome as individuals,” said PSC freshman Canyon Hunt. 

  Founder of the program, PSC Activities Program Manager, Dr. Edward Brown, stated that this initiative challenges stereotypes and fears. Brown also said that this program has a lasting impact on the students, whether it be in their casual social lives or in the workforce. 

   Participants learn how to work with diversity and “take down barriers and stereotypes to get to know someone,” said Brown. 

  “I think the program went very well,” said PSC sophomore Serena Redman. “I would have to say that my favorite part would be getting to know someone and how different they can be.” 

   Being bi-racial, Redman said the initiative really stood out to her. “It got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to really get to know someone for who they are, and not what they look like,” said Redman.

  “I’m an introvert,” said PSC senior James Beall, “so the program itself made me get out there and talk to someone I hadn’t before.” Beall stated that through this program he and his partner became friends and continue to do things together. 

   The initiative also helped to knock down the cultural barrier between rural and urban students. “There’s a cultural divide between urban and rural, so the program is really beneficial in that sense,” said Beall. 

  “To bridge that gap we definitely need this program because it brings people together in a friendly environment. It encourages people to get to know ‘other’ people. I really hope the program progresses every year. We need it to.”

  Brown is seeking funding for next year; he hopes that it will continue at PSC campus and expand to other college campuses. He will be presenting the program in Morgantown to WVU campus administrators and other institute observers at the Student Success Summit. 

For information contact Brown.

Finding an On-Campus Job

 

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Photo from PSC Facebook of SeVohn Hunter and Lucy Litten

The hardest part about working in college may be finding a job on campus that fits your interests. “I really enjoy the Student Ambassador Program because it’s an excellent opportunity to encourage others to come to our college,” said Lucy Litten. “It has taught me how to talk with people and work on a team and I definitely plan on coming back next semester.”

Most of the jobs offered at Potomac State College are run through Federal Work Study, but there are also student employment jobs for students who are not awarded work study.

What is work study?

“Federal work study is a need-based “self-help” aid program which allows students to earn money by working a part-time job (up to 20 hours per week) on or off campus.” The student and their supervisor decide on a work schedule based on how much they are awarded and the student’s schedule. Students are paid $8.75 an hour and their money is deposited directly to their bank account. There is also a page on the PSC website that explains Federal Work Study. This page tells how to qualify for work study, what to do once you have qualified, and where to find Federal Work Study jobs. It also tells what to bring for payroll processing.

PSC Job Resource

MoutaineerTRAK is the best resource for finding an on-campus Federal Work Study job. After logging on to MountaineerTRAK using your MIX username and password, simply select WVU Keyser Campus under the employer directory. This will show all available jobs on campus.3cb88884-92ca-4013-850b-8c47e9dfb4ae

Work Study Jobs

Many work study jobs are office assistants, who complete tasks like making copies, organizing files and other basic office work. There are also more interesting positions. A student assistant for athletic training helps the athletic trainers of PSC sports teams during games and practices. Student assistants for marketing and communications write press releases and take photos for PSC public relations. Game workers work athletic events on campus for many different sports.

Student Employment Jobs

PSC also offers some interesting student employment jobs on campus. Student employment jobs pay $8.75/hour. The supervisor works with the student to determine a schedule that does not exceed 20 hours per week.

Resident Assistants are chosen through an application process at the beginning of each semester. RAs are appointed many responsibilities. These include attending activities on campus, organizing floor meetings, and completing work related duties and tasks. Moreover, they must meet academic standards at all times. RAs are compensating with a scholarship that pays for their room and board.

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Photo by PSC Flickr

RA color crop

Photo by PSC Flickr of Emily Curtin and Rocky Morgan

The Student Ambassador Program is a revamped job on campus. Student Ambassadors make calls to prospective students, answer any questions they may have, and schedule tours or meetings with the needed persons on campus. Student Ambassadors also prepare the materials for open houses, orientations and tours. They are also trained to lead tours.

Dining services offers many positions on campus, both work study and student employment jobs. Workers for dining services prepare and serve food. “The student worker positions are competitive due to the number of applicants. While no experience is necessary, we look for students with good attitudes and stress the importance of dependability,” said Brian Olden, food service manager.

The Academic Success Center hires student employees as tutors. There are also student employment jobs offered at the farms and the equine facility.

With so many work study and student employment jobs to choose from, finding the perfect one should be a breeze.

PSC Men’s Lacrosse Update

by Cody Brazil

The Potomac State College Men’s Lacrosse team begins the season with a streak of 3 losses. They played at Delaware Technical Community College on February 21, resulting in a score of 19-10 in favor DTCC. They then played at Harford Community College on February 24, ending in favor of HCC with a final score of 17-3. The most recent game the Catamounts have played was at home against Hudson Valley Community College on February 26. The game ended in the final score of 10-5 in favor of HVCC.

The 2018 team roster is filled with players from all over. There are 7 players from Maryland, 6 players from West Virginia, 2 players from Pennsylvania, a player from Massachusetts, a player from Missouri, a player from Delaware, a player from Virginia, a player from Ohio and a player from North Carolina. The team is led by head coach Josh Seese, who is coaching for his second season at PSC.

Upcoming games include a home game against Mercyhurst North East on March 3 at 5:30 p.m. and an away game at Howard Community College at 4 p.m. Be sure to head out and show your Catamount pride.

For more in-depth data on the scores of the games that have already been played you can check out the Men’s Lacrosse page on the PSC website.

The STEM Festival Returns to PSC

By Cody Brazil

Drone Photo for Online

David Miller tinkers with his drone before the STEM festival. Photo by Cody Brazil.

The time for the Potomac State College student body to showcase their knowledge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math is almost upon us. The STEM festival, which is a day for the community to learn about many interesting topics in those fields from the students themselves, will be taking place on March 24, 2018 from 12-4p.m.

Past favorites such as green screen technologies and Rubik’s Cubes mosaics will be making a return this year, but some new and exciting demonstrations will be on display this year. One of these displays will be the drone demonstration put on by David Miller of the PSC library.

Miller explained that he will be setting up an obstacle course for people to fly a training drone through, so that they may learn the basics of operating a drone. Miller went on to talk about how bigger drones have built-in GPS to keep them level in the wind and smaller ones do not. Teaching people to fly on a smaller drone helps them to build the skill to manually keep their drone level if the GPS were to ever go out.

Drones are going to play a bigger part in industries, such as shipping, so it is important for people to get comfortable with the use, and soon we will have to decide laws on how drones will be allowed to be operated. So it is important for people to gain experience in order for them to make informed decisions,” said Miller on why it is important to learn about drones at a young age.

“Hands on Anatomy” is a display that will be returning this year that aims to teach the public a little more about their bodies. The display consists of posters that will be created by the Anatomy and Physiology 2 students. Each poster will cover a different organ system that the students will be on site to explain. Along with the posters there will be actual dissected organisms on display for viewers to interact with. This display is put on by Sheri Chisolm the PSC Anatomy and Physiology professor. Chisolm explained that she loves the STEM festival because she enjoys interacting with the public and seeing her students be able to teach the materials that she taught them.

“A lot of what we will be teaching transcribes to human health, so hopefully you’ll be able to be your own advocate at the doctor,” said Chisolm

The engineering department is doing a Moon Racers Robotics Obstacle Course and a Solar System Rocket Launch. There will also be a display on identifying different kinds of trees and a math activity about triangles.

“It’s a can’t miss opportunity for families to explore all aspects of science,” said Andrea Schafer, STEM Festival organizer. The event is free.