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Eastern Panhandle students to attend Governor's School

July 07, 2003

Eight Eastern Panhandle students will be among 120 teenagers from across West Virginia, who will attend the second annual Governor's School for Math and Science at West Virginia University.

Students entering ninth grade in the fall will attend the first session, which began Sunday and continues through July 18; students starting eighth grade will participate in a session from July 23 to Aug. 1. Support for the school comes from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and the WVU provost's office.

Students from the Eastern Panhandle are: Sarah Austin, Martinsburg; Michael Bradford, Paw Paw; Lesley Swisher, Capon Bridge; Thomas Van Vliet, Harpers Ferry; Paul Espinosa Jr., Charles Town; Kimberly Hotchkiss, Paw Paw; Victoria Phillips, Inwood; and Joshua Smalley, Berkeley Springs.

"These young students will use their math and science skills in exploring the design, operation and maintenance of an amusement park," said Eric Pyle, director of the school and an associate professor of science education at WVU. "This gives the students as much of the real context as possible, which makes the learning more worthwhile."

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Instructors will include faculty from WVU and other state higher-education institutions, public school math and science teachers, and fellows in the WVU Teams of Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows Engaged to Reinvigorate Students Project. WVU students majoring in math, science, engineering and education will serve as student mentors.

The school's agenda includes a field trip to Kennywood Park, where the young scientists will make some observations, take some measurements and have some fun.

Activities conclude with the students presenting arguments about why building a theme park in West Virginia would or would not be a good idea. They will present their ideas to a mock Economic Development Commission composed of WVU student mentors.

For more information about the Governor's School for Math and Science, contact Pyle at 1-304-293-3441, ext. 1310, or 1-304-216-1115 or visit the school's Web site at www.wvgovschools.org/mands/index.html.

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