Chaney STEM students headed east for workshop at West Point

By Denise Dick


Five Chaney students will spend this week learning more about science, technology, engineering and mathematics at a workshop at West Point.

Sixth-graders Sean Bell, 12, Christopher Hughes, 12, and Shanyia Ray, 11, and seventh-graders Josh Naef, 13, and Jarelle Watkins, 13, were selected for the United States Military Academy STEM Workshop, which starts Tuesday and runs through Friday at West Point, N.Y.

“I saw an opportunity for something different and exciting,” Shanyia said.

She likes engineering and looks forward to learning more about it.

All five students are enrolled in Chaney’s STEM program. Selection for the workshop was based on academic performance, interest in learning about STEM and geographic diversity. The students receive a full scholarship to cover the workshop, room and board. The district is picking up the tab for the airfare.

“The administration thought it was very important for the kids to participate,” said Pam Lubich, Chaney’s STEM coordinator. “They made it happen.”

An area resident with ties to West Point brought the workshop to Lubich’s attention, and she passed the applications on to teachers who distributed them to students.

“It sounded like a good experience,” Jarelle said, adding that he’s interested in math and engineering.

Josh’s main interest is in engineering, too.

“I thought it sounded like it would be a cool thing to go to,” he said.

“I thought it sounded like something neat and a great experience for me,” Sean said.

Sessions cover mathematics, chemistry, physics and mechanical, electrical, civil and systems engineering.

“This unique middle-school program offers students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities taught by academy faculty and cadet mentors,” according to the workshop website.

Students participate in hands-on science demonstrations in the National Science Mobile Discovery Center.

“We’ll learn how to make a battery out of kitchen supplies” and how hackers operate, Jarelle said.

He’s also interested in prototypes and different experiments.

“I want to do them at home, but my mom won’t let me because she’s afraid I’ll set the house on fire,” Jarelle said.

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