High School Students See Classroom Physics Applied to Careers
Clearfield Area High School students who are enrolled in physics courses visited Penn State DuBois this week to learn how physics and other sciences can be applied to exciting careers. In all, 33 students toured the campus and took in presentations from faculty members in the engineering and Information Sciences and Technology (IST) departments.
"They're seeing physics and science and how it applies to engineering and other areas," said Susan Spaid, the senior class guidance counselor at Clearfield High. "We want our students to see that these fields are real, and that there are good jobs in these areas."
Spaid said the demonstrations from IST and engineering faculty members showed students that jobs in such fields are more than just office work. She hoped that they realized how education in the sciences can be applied to hands-on careers. She said, "So often they think that a career after college is just sitting at a desk. I want them to see that a career in an interesting field is possible, where they can be active and solve problems."
The Penn State DuBois faculty members showcased the hands-on education that they offer, which trains students for the kinds of stimulating careers Spaid had in mind. In the IST lab, students learned how the variety of the tasks that professionals complete can make for interesting work. In creating and maintaining vast computer and communications networks, professionals in IST often perform all tasks related to networking, from running cables, to writing software programs.
In the engineering lab, students got a close-up look at the new face of manufacturing. Modern work in powder metals, for example, requires the use of computer-aided machines to produce precise parts for use in automobiles, home appliances, and more. People who enter these careers are those who have a strong education in the field, but also are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Engineering and powder metal professionals are also in high demand in today's economy, which means plenty of opportunity for graduates of engineering programs.
"There are a lot of career opportunities in engineering," said Craig Stringer, assistant professor of engineering at Penn State DuBois. "We can help them get into those careers. Education is a key to that. It will open up opportunities for them."
Spaid said the campus visit went a long way in showing her Clearfield High School students the opportunities they'll have in the future, and that they don't have to go far from home to get it. "We want to broaden the knowledge these kids have. We want to provide the opportunity for them to see what college is like," she said. "This is only 20 miles away from home; it's close."