The world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization is looking to attract more young Kentuckians to careers in science and technology.
That’s why representatives of Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle came to Eastern Kentucky University on March 8 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,” said Mark Needham, site manager for Battelle at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP). 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 hope to get future Battelle employees from the Fair. We want the brightest, most talented students.”
Dr. Robin Cooper, a professor of biology at the University of Kentucky and KY-SEF president, was among those in attendance.
Battelle’s support “means a lot, not just to the students but to the whole state of Kentucky,” Cooper said.
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 Dr. Jason Marion, assistant professor of environmental health science at Eastern and co-director of the Fair, along with EKU colleague June Settle. “Students who come to the Fair go on to do great things.”
Dr. Jerry Pogatshnik, dean of EKU’s Graduate School and associate vice president for research, also spoke at the event.
The 14th annual Lexmark Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair (kysciencefair.org) will be held March 26 at EKU’s Alumni Coliseum. The top winners from KY-SEF go on to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Meanwhile, construction continues on Phase 2 of EKU’s New Science Building, expected to open by Fall 2017. When both phases are merged, Eastern will boast the Commonwealth’s largest such facility on a college or university campus.