For the second consecutive year, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization has made a significant investment in the leading showcase for science, engineering and technological research among Kentucky’s high school and middle school students.
Representatives of Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle came to Eastern Kentucky University recently to present a $5,000 community grant check to the Lexmark Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair (KY-SEF), held annually at EKU.
“STEM skills are very important to us at Battelle, all the way from our senior leadership to field,” said Mark Needham, site manager for Battelle at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP). “We are a science, engineering, and innovation-based organization from top to bottom, and we want to support and encourage these students at your fair.”
In 2013, Battelle’s Demilitarization Business Unit was awarded a $76 million contract to support systemization activities at the BGCAPP as part of the Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Joint Venture.
“We continue enjoying working in the Richmond community,” Needham said, “and we are pleased this fair that is showcasing Kentucky’s brightest, most talented students is also here. We were excited about this opportunity to partner last year and are happy to help out again. Many of our own scientists are judges, and some of our scientists have their own children participating.”
Dr. Jason Marion, an associate professor of environmental health science at EKU and fair co-director along with EKU colleague June Settle, welcomed attendees.
“Because of the outstanding reputation of Battelle, we were able to gain additional sponsors while successfully encouraging an incredible welcome video from our governor,” Marion said. “Having Battelle’s name join alongside our fair’s namesake, Lexmark, we truly have elevated the prestige and value of our fair. Battelle is a national and world leader in science and innovation, and their support for science and engineering education extends to the local communities where they serve. Their organization continues a tradition of being led by civically-minded scientists, such as Dr. Jeff Wadsworth, a metallurgist with immense convictions for research, education, and making the world a better place. We are so fortunate for their partnership.”
Eastern hosts the statewide fair every spring, bringing nearly 300 of Kentucky’s best high school and middle school students to the Richmond campus. “It’s one of our signature events for encouraging STEM-H students to be at EKU,” said Marion. “Students who come to the fair go on to do great things, and recent winners have been showcased in national media such as ‘The Today Show,’ as well as international media.”
The 15th annual Lexmark Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair (kysciencefair.org) was held April 1 at EKU’s Alumni Coliseum. The top winners from KY-SEF are going on to represent Team Kentucky while competing in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Meanwhile, construction continues on Phase 2 of EKU’s New Science Building, expected to open this fall. When both phases are merged, Eastern will boast the Commonwealth’s largest such facility on a college or university campus.