Teachers Named to Summer BioEnergy, BioProducts Program

June 23, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Fourteen Ohio educators have been chosen to participate in a multi-state project designed to bring the most current information on bioenergy and bioproducts into the classroom.

Dennis Hall, co-program manager for the Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center (OBIC) in Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, announced the participants in the Northeast Bioenergy and Bioproducts professional development program. Hall is Ohio's representative on the five-year project, which is based at Cornell University and is funded by a $5 million grant from the Agriculture and Food Initiative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Two of the participants, Shaun Blevins, science teacher at Bath High School in Lima, and Ray McCampbell, biology teacher at Eaton High School, will be summer interns with OBIC on Ohio State's Columbus campus. They will work with experts in food processing, agricultural engineering, economics and related areas and will help develop lesson plans as well as professional development programs relating to bioenergy and bioproducts.

Two others, science teachers Andrea Harpen of Blanchester High School and Heather Bryan of Findlay High School, have been named Certified Master Teacher Trainers. They will take part in a six-week Train-the-Trainer program at Cornell University to learn how to use a suite of laboratory kits and workbooks and certification in Smart Board technology. They will work with OBIC for an additional three weeks and will train the other 10 participants, designated as Master Teachers, at a one-week workshop during the Ohio State Fair.

The Master Teachers will learn how to teach basic bioenergy and bioproducts concepts to other teachers using prepared lab kits and interactive white board activities, which will be provided by the project. These participants are: Ajat Mehta, Columbus Africentric School; Don Barnhart, Leipsic High School; Lora James, Benjamin Logan High School in Bellefontaine; Jeff Jostpille, Fort Jennings High School; Gina Anderson, Lancaster High School; Bev Wolfe, Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Clayton; Lindsey Regula, Cory-Rawson High School in Rawson; Rachel Sanders, Springfield High School; and Jeffrey Karcher, Bellevue High School. Sally McClaskey, a 4-H educator with Ohio State University Extension, will also participate in the program and will work to develop bioenergy and bioproducts curriculum for the 4-H program.

"In addition, Heather Bryan, Andrea Harpen, Ray McCampbell and Shaun Blevins will serve in extended leadership roles this summer," Hall said. "All of the teachers are highly qualified for this program and bring with them a very impressive set of skills and experiences."

Other states participating in the project are New York, Maryland and Delaware.

"Ultimately," Hall said, "the goal is to inspire students to consider Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics (STEAM) Careers. It will take a talented workforce to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and instead draw upon the rapidly renewable resources available in biomass."

For more information about the program, download the 2011 program brochure available at https://www.regonline.com/BioenergyTeachers2011.

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Author(s): 
Martha Filipic
Source(s): 
Dennis Hall