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Clarkson University Receives $20k "Partners In Engineering" Grant To Benefit Potsdam High School Girls

[Photos of Potsdam High School students are available for newspaper use at and]

Clarkson University has received a $20,000 grant from the Engineering Information Foundation of New York, N.Y., to support Clarkson's "Partners in Engineering Program" (PIE). This innovative program teams undergraduate women from Clarkson University with girls at Potsdam High School.partners2

The program's goal is to increase interest and participation in engineering-related studies and careers, and to enhance girls' self-confidence with engineering-related problems, techniques and tools. Clarkson Professor Susan Powers and Jan DeWaters, a research associate in Clarkson's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, are jointly supervising the project.

Students in David Sipher's Natural Resources class are participating in the Partners in Engineering program. The students have completed a trash inventory at the high school and have identified paper products as the most significant solid waste stream.

Over the course of the next year, the girls in the class will join with several other high school girls and the Clarkson women to develop a product that can be made from paper in the waste stream. Boys in the class will work on a parallel project under Sipher's direction to increase the proportion of paper that is recycled at the high school.

Young women want to know about engineering's relevance to the world in which they live, says Powers. "Demonstrating engineering's holistic relationship to our environment and society in a hands-on project is the best way to engage these young women's interest in improving our world through engineering."

Studies have shown that girls typically lose interest in science and mathematics when they reach high school, adds DeWaters. "This project will provide the nurturing, hands-on experience and positive role models they need to picture themselves in a technical career. We're grateful to the Engineering Information Foundation for helping us to provide this experience."

Clarkson University's SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience and Design) program, student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Center for Environmental Management are also supporting this partnership program.

Photo captions:

partners1.jpg: Chris Deone, 11th grade, weighs a portion of the trash generated by Potsdam High School to analyze the trash stream that will benefit most from PIE’s effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

partners2.jpg Girls from Potsdam High School participating in the PIE partnership with Clarkson University sort through trash generated in the high school's offices. The students found that 60 percent of the office trash stream was paper that could have been recycled. From left to right: Michelle Gallo, 10th grade, Jessica Snyder, 12th grade, and Raeanne Decker, 10th grade.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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