TD Charitable Foundation Supports ‘Green STEM’ Program for Pottstown Area Youth

Summer program compliments the College’s Environmental Science degree and development of Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center.

by Alana J. Mauger

The College’s Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, in support of a new Green STEM summer program, titled “How Scientists View the Environment,” for 20 disadvantaged middle school youth from the Pottstown and surrounding areas.

The program compliments the College’s efforts around environmental education and the development of the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center, which is located across the street from the West Campus’ South Hall at 140 College Drive.

Summer program participants will benefit from the faculty expertise and facilities that are a unique part of the College’s Environmental Science degree program. Introduced in 2008, the Associate in Science (A.S.) program prepares students for transfer to a four-year college or university in preparation for high- demand careers in such areas as ecology, hydrology, air and water quality compliance, regional planning and interpretive education in the private, governmental and non-profit sectors.

A state-of-the-art laboratory dedicated to environmental studies will be housed in the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center once funding is secured and the project is completed. The facility will also include several additional classrooms and an interpretive center that will provide educational, historic and tourist information about the Schuylkill River Heritage Area (SRHA).

Designed to be sustainable, the College will seek LEED certification for the Center and will look to incorporate a variety of sustainable adaptations, such as a green roof and geothermal energy sources, that can serve as both a tool for teaching and learning and as an energy and cost-savings alternative.

More information on the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center, including giving and sponsorship opportunities, is available at mc3.edu/giving.

Participants in the Green STEM summer program will have the unique opportunity to visit the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center and to learn about the restoration of a historic landmark as well as the technology and science behind the development of a green building.

During the five-day program, students will also be introduced to the basic concepts of scientific methodology and data analysis through hands-on activities and experiments. The students will work with faculty from a variety of STEM fields, including biology, chemistry, geology and mathematics. Each activity will focus on an environmental issue relevant to the local community, and the students will present their findings and recommendations during a poster session at the conclusion of the program.

“At TD Bank, building strong communities where our employees, customers and other stakeholders live and work is a priority for us, which is why we’re happy to support the new Green STEM summer program,” said Geoffrey Brandon, Regional Vice President, TD Bank.

According to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, students in the United States are shying away from careers in science and technology in part because of inadequate high school science preparation. The gap becomes greater for students who live in lower socio-economic areas. In the Borough of Pottstown, approximately 16 percent of residents and 13 percent of families live below the federal poverty level, and the per capita income is just over half that of the county.

“At the end of the week, students will leave the Green STEM program with a thorough understanding of how the scientific process works, specifically as applied to pertinent environmental issues,” said Andrew Ippolito, interim dean of Math, Science and Advanced Technology at the College. “The students will have an understanding that science is process that is used every day, involves creative and imaginative skills, and has a social component. They will also develop a perspective on their role toward helping to protect and sustain the environment for future generations to enjoy.”

Pictured at the check presentation in the Biology laboratory at the West Campus are (from left) Interim Dean of Math Science and Advanced Technology Andrew Ippolito, Director of Dual Enrollment Initiatives Cheryl Taylor-Mearhoff, Chemistry Instructor Janet Graden, College President Dr. Karen A. Stout, TD Bank Blue Bell Branch Manager Pat Owens, Biology Associate Professor and Green STEM summer program Director David Gonzales, and TD Bank Regional Vice President Geoffrey Brandon. Photo by John Welsh

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