Kentucky professors and researchers will introduce the field of engineering to a group of
promising southeastern Kentucky high school students this week and next week at The Center
for Rural Development in Somerset.
The new engineering instruction is part of the
centers Rogers Scholars program, a one-week program teaching lessons in leadership,
entrepreneurship and technology to 48 juniors from high schools in 40 southern and eastern
Kentucky counties. The programs new engineering class will be taught Wednesday and
Thursday and will conclude Friday with tours of two Somerset factories.
From 8:45 a.m. to noon Wednesday, June 14 and 21, materials engineering professors
Elizabeth Dickey and Susan Sinnott and materials engineering graduate student Robert
Miller will teach the high school students about career opportunities in engineering. The
professors also will demonstrate a scanning electron microscope and help the students use
computer models of atomic structures to understand the behavior of materials. UKs
College of Engineering places an average of 94 percent of its students in careers or
graduate school within four months of graduation.
From 8:45 a.m. to noon Thursday, June 15 and 22, researchers from UKs Center for
Applied Energy Research -- Chris Lafferty, Adam Berkovich, Fiona McKenzie, Alicia Hobbs
and Bob Rathbone -- will discuss how the residual materials from Kentuckys natural
energy resources can be used rather than disposed. For example, what is left of coal after
combustion has been used as fill material, filling in a valley for a sports field or
filling in old mine shafts, rather than simply thrown away.
The Center for Applied Energy Research has been investigating ways to use coal ash for
some five years with the help of about $5 million in grants from the Department of Energy.
At 10 a.m. Friday, June 16 and 23, the Rogers Scholars involved in the engineering
course will tour the Tecumseh plant, and at 1 p.m. Friday, they will tour the Hayes
The UK Materials Research Science and Engineering Center for Advanced Carbon Materials,
which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is sponsoring the universitys
participation in the Rogers Scholars program.
The Center for Rural Development is located at 2292 S. Highway 27, Somerset. The center
is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide economic opportunities to rural
communities so young people do not have to leave the region to find good jobs. The center
is housed on UK property, and the university provides its expertise to support many of its
The Rogers Scholars program is named for U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers. The week-long program
allows the students to choose a major from among engineering, networking or video
The 40-county area covered by the centers region ranges from Pineville to
Tompkinsville to Nicholasville to Louisa.
Counties with Rogers Scholars participating in the engineering course are:
Adair County: Kyle Zornes of Adair County High School.
Bell County: Joseph Slusher of Bell County High School.
Breathitt County: Gary Brian Curtis and Joel Abner of Breathitt County High
Clinton County: Suzette Riddle of Clinton County High School.
Green County: Laura Edwards of Green County High School.
Jackson County: Bobby Garrit Murphy of Jackson County High School.
Knox County: Jonathan Patterson of Barbourville City School.
Lee County: Joe David Young of Lee County High School.
Lincoln County: Amberly Raney of Lincoln County High School.
Menifee County: Robert Banks of Menifee County High School.
Owsley County: Bridget Sebastian of Owsley County High School.
Perry County: George Phero of Buckhorn High School.
Pike County: Michael Johnson of Shelby Valley High School.
Rockcastle County: Rachelle Hammond of Rockcastle County High School.
Whitley County: Todd Rickett of Corbin High School.