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Professor Serves as Judge for On-Campus STEM Competition

A Pennsylvania College of Technology professor served as a judge for the regional Governor’s PA STEM Competition held recently on the college’s main campus in Williamsport.

David S. Richards, professor of physics, was one of four judges for the high school competition coordinated regionally by BLaST Intermediate Unit 17. While learning about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers, teams were required to design, build and present a device addressing a real-world problem with the goal of improving the quality of life for Pennsylvania residents.

Teams from Williamsport Area High School and Hughesville High School competed to be the top school from Intermediate Unit 17’s four-county region and advance to the state finals in May at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.

David S. Richards
David S. Richards

The judges declared Hughesville the winner, but Richards said he was impressed by the “quality of products” and professionalism exhibited by all the students.

“Williamsport built a prototype of a truck-washing system that could be used to clean the sediment off of wheels and undercarriages of gas-industry trucks as they leave well pads,” Richards said. “This would help reduce the mud and contaminants from getting onto local roads and into streams.

“Hughesville built a prototype of a microbial fuel cell that could be used by local farmers to generate electricity from manure and reduce unwanted biological waste.”

Richards is hopeful that senior students who participated in the competition will consider applying for STEM scholarships offered by Penn College through a National Science Foundation grant.

Last year, the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program provided the college with a five-year, $616,417 grant to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

Approximately 20 students will be awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

“With their dedication to STEM and the resourcefulness they exhibited in the competition, I believe we saw several excellent candidates for the scholarship program,” Richards said.

The School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies consists of seven departments: Welding, Plastics & Polymer, Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology, Automated Manufacturing & Machining, Engineering Design Technology, Information Technology, and Electrical.

For more about the school, call 570-327-4520.

For more about Penn College, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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