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High school students on campus for STEM symposium and research expo

WEDIG
Students listen to company reps who stress the need for college degree.
4/13/2011 —

 

LEARNED ABOUT FUTURE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES
Companty reps talk about the need for an
educated and skilled workforce
Sponsored by WEDIG

Nearly 200 high school students visited Penn State New Kensington April 12 to learn about future employment opportunities in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Held in junction with the campus' annual Creative Research Exposition and Career Day, the "STEM Symposium" was an opportunity for secondary-school students to hear about careers and what skills will be needed for future workforces from local employers. Representatives from the health care, energy, technology, and manufacturing industries were on-hand to give advice and answer questions.

The Alle-Kiski Valley and the surrounding areas are home to numerous STEM-related companies, including West Penn Health Center, Oberg Industries, Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, Pennsylvania CareerLink, Penn State Electro-Optics Center, and Allegheny Technologies Inc.

John Scarfutti, vice president for human resources at Allegheny Technologies, advised the students to pursue a degree in one of the STEM fields. His company is looking for employees who hold bachelor's and associate degrees. Electrical engineering is one field that is in demand. Penn State New Kensington currently offers an associate degree in electrical engineering technology and a bachelor's degree in electro-mechanical engineering technology.

The symposium was sponsored by Wedig, the acronym for Westmoreland Economic Development Initiative for Growth. Wedig is an organization of more than 100 business and government officials who are working together to achieve economic growth and global competiveness through private-public partnerships. Kevin Snider, chancellor of the New Kensington campus, spearheaded the establishment of the group in 2009. Members represent five Alle-Kiski municipalities -- Allegheny Township, Arnold, Lower Burrell, New Kensington and Upper Burrell.

The Wedig event complemented the research expo, which provided students, under the guidance of a faculty adviser, with the opportunity to conduct research, draw conclusions and present their information in a public setting. This year, a record 72 students researched 45 projects that were exhibited in poster format or delivered orally. The expo was founded in 2003 as a way for students to apply their knowledge and skills to a research idea that interests them and to begin to understand what it means to be a professional in their field of study.

In addition to the expo and the symposium, the career networking event was geared to career information sharing and networking activities. Although not a recruitment fair, the contacts made with these local employers could lead to jobs and internships in the future. Twenty-eight companies set up booths in the Athletics Center to discuss career options with current students and recent graduates. Faculty received up-to-date information as companies focused on career paths within their organizations that related to academic fields and majors.

For photos of the symposium, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Information/News/photogallery.htm#id=15T5OLST5-0&num=15T5OLST5-1

For photos of the expo and career day, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Information/News/photogallery.htm#id=15T7DFT5G-0&num=15T7DFT5G-1 online

For a list of student projects at the expo, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/43707.htm online.

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