Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

The Juniata College Science in Motion program was recently recognized as one of eight national winners of the Council of State Governments (CSG) 2003 Innovations Award, but the program has not been funded in the 2003-04 state budget.
Senator Robert Jubelirer and Representative Larry Sather spoke at a joint press conference last week to reinforce the need for funding for the program.
“Funding for this outstanding program has yet to be appropriated in the 2003-04 state budget negotiations,” said Sather. “We are appealing to the General Assembly and to the Administration to see the value of these academic partnerships which certainly warrant the state’s financial support.”
Juniata College, located in Huntingdon, initiated the program in 1998 and since then Cedar Crest College, Clarion University, Drexel University, Gannon University, Gettysburg College, Susquehanna University, Pitt-Bradford, Ursinus College, Westminster College and Wilkes University have joined as higher education partners.
“The program has been the model for similar programs in other states because of its sustained success,” said Jubelirer. “It has earned national recognition not only for the strong science support given to schools, but for its cost-effective delivery and its importance in supporting workforce development through student training in laboratory sciences and technology.”
One of the schools that participates in the Juniata College Science in Motion program is the Tyrone High School.
“We use these labs for the students and the program also provides training for teachers in the summer,” said Mark Nale, a science teacher at Tyrone High School. “We have Kathy Holsinger, Dan Albright, and Beth Cannistraci use the program in the science department, the health tech program uses it and Chris Carney and the ag department also use it. The program was an efficient use of dollars.”
With the program not being funded as of yet, teachers are scrambling to find lesson plans for their students.
“I had a DNA lab scheduled for this week,” said Tyrone science teacher Kathy Holsinger. “We order things a year in advance and the equipment that we use for these labs that is provided through Science in Motion isn’t feasible for individual high schools to purchase the equipment necessary for these labs. My hands are tied right now without the program.”
The program saves the commonwealth money in the long run.
“If you look at it, the program serves 26 different school districts with equipment for labs,” said Nale. “If the 26 school districts bought the equipment themselves, it would cost 26 times what it costs this project. It helps teachers and students in the different districts use the same equipment and learn the same lessons.”
One lab that Science in Motion uses was partially designed by Nale.
“The pellets lab for Outdoor Biology I helped design,” said Nale. “The program is not only a valuable tool for the students, but is also challenging and a great learning instrument for the teachers.”
Recently the program was selected as one of two Northeast regional CSG Innovations Award winners. A total of eight programs were selected for the CSG’s national awards for 2003. All eight programs will be honored at a ceremony in Pittsburgh on October 23.
Jubelirer and Sather were joined at the press conference by Dr. Lorraine Mulfinger, the director of science outreach at Juniata College.
“Science in Motion vans based at the participating colleges visit schools in their regions and bring into the classroom the kind of science education never thought possible on local school budgets,” said Mulfinger. “And each summer, teachers look forward to professional development opportunities in the advanced science laboratories of the higher education partners.”
Sather and Jubelirer agreed that continued funding for the program is an investment in the future of Pennsylvania.
“It’s fair to say that this program has developed into an incredible asset in Pennsylvania’s quest to become a national leader in the high-tech and life sciences industries,” said Jubelirer. “We can’t afford to let that slip away.”
You can find out more about the Science in Motion program by logging on to www.scienceinmotion.org.

By Rick