2008 Excellence in Engagement Grants
Science at the Polar Frontier: BPRC, the Zoo, and Metro School ($71,000)
Carol Landis, Education and Outreach Specialist, Byrd Polar Research Center; Nancy Hampson, Director of Conservation Education, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; Marcy Raymond, Principal, Metro High School
With support from the OSU Office of Outreach and Engagement and the Battelle Memorial Institute, the Byrd Polar Research Center (BPRC) at Ohio State collaborated with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to develop a set of presentations about Arctic research in support of the Zoo’s new Polar Frontier exhibit. Additional information is also made available on the BPRC website. The most timeless product from this collaboration is a series of computer graphics that are generated from the Polar Weather Research and Forecast model showing real-time temperature and pressure conditions and a 48-hour forecast for the entire Arctic region. Output from the model was adapted to generate color-coded maps specifically for the Zoo, requiring more than a year of effort. The maps are being archived at BPRC for future use by Metro High School and other students who are interested in changing conditions in the polar environment. The model output will also be shared with other members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with polar exhibits. Visitors to the Polar Frontier are also introduced to the science of understanding past Arctic climate through studies of ice cores and seafloor sediments, two other important research areas at BPRC.
Mansfield Young People’s Project ($68,000)
Lee McEwan, Associate Professor, Mathematics, OSU Mansfield; Heather Tanner, Associate Professor, History, OSU Mansfield; Partners: Young People’s Project, Algebra Project
The Mansfield Young People’s Project (MYPP) is an after-school program and annual summer institute which trains lowest-quartile high school students to be peer mentors, leaders, and advocates for quality education. In conjunction with the national YPP, high school students train along with college students to become math literacy workers (MLWs) in order to build a powerful network of young people from marginalized and under-resourced communities. Organized around entry-level knowledge work, students mentor elementary and middle school kids in an after-school program of math games and activities. They simultaneously learn to take responsibility for the program, creating a virtuous circle of older peers modeling successful academic and leadership skills to younger students, who will develop into similar roles as they grow up.
In 2008, MYPP began developing its first cohort of 9 eighth graders from the lowest academic quartile, with four college team leaders. In 2009, the cohort grew to 19 students, and MYPP served as a bridge to the establishment of the Mansfield Algebra Project (MAP), funded by a five year National Science Foundation grant. MAP currently serves 19 tenth graders, MYPP serves 25 high school students, and more than eight college students have trained as team leaders. The number of outreach schools where MLWs work has doubled from one to two, and seeks to double again in 2010-2011. A short video documenting the summer program can be seen here: http://vimeo.com/14219555
Ohio House of Science and Engineering (OHSE) ($35,000)
Susan Olesik, Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences; David Tomasko, Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, College of Engineering; Amanda Simcox, Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, College of Biological Sciences; Linda Weavers, John C. Geupel Chair in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science and Associate Professor, College of Engineering
Ohio State University has numerous well-established science/engineering outreach and public science literacy programs that seek to improve grades K-20 science education (Wonders of Our World, W.O.W., GK-12 Program, Future Engineers Summer Camp, and the DNA Fingerprinting Workshop). Operating as a consortium of these highly effective programs, the Ohio House of Science and Engineering will foster and promote STEM outreach and education activities from kindergarten through the PhD. It intends to serve all of the following roles in the university community: a primary point of contact for external constituencies to find STEM outreach programs at the university; a stable administrative structure for programs and physical base for operations; a laboratory or think tank for testing and developing new outreach ideas; and a curriculum development resource for STEM elements in higher education. The proposed Excellence and Engagement project will expand the efforts of a number of current outreach efforts to include inquiry-based teaching in K-12 classrooms. This will be the pilot for demonstrating the OHSE operation. At full strength, the OHSE expects to serve approximately 10,000 K-12 students per year with 1,000-1,500 contributing scientists and engineers.
Engineering to the High Schools ($15,000)
Betty Lise Anderson, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering; Partners: Marcy Raymond, Principal, Metro High School; David B. L. Gould, Director, Upper School, Columbus School for Girls; Susie Carr, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Whitehall City Schools; Chris Brandon, Project Director, Battelle Engineering Experience; Glenda LaRue, Director, Women in Engineering Program, College of Engineering
The United States is facing a shortage of engineers. To address this shortage, the key is to educate school teachers, and through them their students, about what engineering is. The teachers are eager to learn, and the schools are creating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) clubs and engineering clubs to reach the students, but the teachers and clubs need content. Ohio State's Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students, as part of the ECE senior capstone design course, have developed a series of hands-on engineering activities to increase awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among high school students and their teachers. ECE seniors and faculty visited 15 Columbus area high schools, engaging students and their teachers in building speakers, audio equalizers, LED displays, touch-screen sensors, electric motors, a Jeopardy! style quiz game with buzzers and timers, and more. The ultimate goal of the ECE STEM initiative is to teach engineering concepts to high school teachers directly, to encourage and support independent teaching of these concepts in the high schools. Thorough documentation including parts lists and detailed directions has been developed. These lists will be posted on websites at STEM Columbus, Ohio House of Science and Engineering, and the College of Engineering. Battelle will help purchase and make available parts kits for these projects to share across school districts in the state. With the projects in place, ECE, with Battelle’s support, is organizing “build parties” at which teachers can come and build the projects themselves before taking them back to their schools.
Stable Cradle ($17,000)
Wanda Dillard, Director of Community Development, Ohio State University Medical Center; Mary Margaret Gottesman, Associate Professor, College of Nursing; Partners: Maryhaven Women’s Program; Material Assistance Providers; Andrew Russ, Attorney, Wolfe & Russ LLC
This project is expanding and strengthening the existing Stable Cradle Program, a partnership of the OSU Medical Center and Maryhaven's Women's Program. The Stable Cradle Program aims to encourage pregnant women who use substances to stop using the addictive substances immediately and to provide a support system to help them achieve that goal throughout pregnancy and the first year of the child’s life. The support system includes peer health mentors, women who were previously substance abusers and have successfully overcome their addiction and established healthy families. The peer mentors are under the supervision of a licensed substance abuse counselor.
With funding from the Excellence in Engagement Grant, the three strategic goals of the program were met. The licensed counselor’s and peer health mentors’ hours were increased. The increased hours have improved the program by allowing more timely follow up with participants to lower the 25% loss rate to no more than 7%. On average, the program served 30 women each month, which is an increase of 7 women. And, to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, data was collected from each new client. The data included race/ethnicity, drug of choice, when the client started prenatal care and referral agency, gestation, post-partum visit, involvement with Franklin County Children Service (FCCS), other health issues and referral to community agencies. By changing the reporting process, the program was able to identify areas that need further research.
The impact of the Stable Cradle program is that all the mothers are receiving assistance with establishing a medical home for their infants and with accessing community services to meet their individual needs.