Hazel Chmiel, daughter of Michelle Gorman and Chris Chmiel of Albany, Ohio, participated among 45 high school students in the 32nd annual High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute, hosted by The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

The event was held virtually for the second year in a row with the program including talks by current researchers, virtual tours and a Scratch coding activities.

The high school students joined teachers selected from across nine Appalachian states to spend two weeks, June 19-July 2, fully engaged in virtual learning experiences and hands-on research in math, science, engineering and technology (STEM).

Governor Mike DeWine nominated Chmiel, a student at Alexander High School, to attend this accelerated learning program based on her potential to excel in math and science and to continue in higher learning.

Since 2000, the program has provided this opportunity to a total of 804 students and 318 teachers.

Students and teachers participated in virtual research projects led by ORNL scientists and mentors. Chmiel and teammates investigated 3D printing, robotics systems, spatial analysis, climate science, sensor technology, computing, and radiation biology. The teachers focused on cytogenetic biodosimetry.

Attendees spent each day in a virtual setting working with their mentors on their projects and also took part in virtual evening activities. The virtual setting was able to give students and teachers a meaningful research experience.

“As someone who has certainly advocated for education and leadership, I believe in leveraging the creativity, ingenuity, and potential from within our Region to enhance economic vitality,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “ARC’s Academies and Institutes do just that—they help empower the next generation of leaders in building networks, honing skills, and cultivating an enduring commitment to Appalachia’s future. I welcome the students of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer STEM Program.”

“Encouraging growth and development for students, educators, and entrepreneurs within the ARC region is vital to sustaining regional economies and cultivating future leaders,” said Virginia Governor and ARC States’ Co-Chair Ralph Northam. “I am excited to see the great work of the new class of the 2021 Oak Ridge National Laboratory Summer STEM Academy, including our six students and teachers from Virginia!”

“Even in a virtual setting, many exciting opportunities open up for participants in the High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute and Middle School Summer Science Academy. Often, participants develop a new interest in STEM subjects and then continue to pursue STEM careers. Teachers gain a renewed passion for promoting STEM subjects with knowledge of emerging sciences and technologies,” said Chris Nelson who manages the program for ORAU.

To see a complete list of students and teachers, and learn more about their experiences, visit https://www.orau.org/arc-ornl/default.html

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