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Clarkson/plattsburgh High/georgia-pacific Partnership Wins N.y. State Tech Prep Award

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An educational partnership among Clarkson University, Plattsburgh High School and Georgia-Pacific has been honored as the Best Community/Business Partnership by the New York State Tech Prep Consortia.iteam

Called the “ITEAM” (Industrial Technology, Tech Prep Engineering and Management), this partnership is one of the many programs of the North Country Tech Prep Consortium. This is the third time the Potsdam-based consortium has been honored in the last four years. In each instance, Clarkson University has been a major partner.

“This is an outstanding award,” says Pat McKeown, coordinator of Educational Partnerships for the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) of St. Lawrence and Lewis Counties. “Our goal is always to create the kinds of academic linkages which enable students to develop both a marketable skills set and classroom excellence.

“It is worthy to note that Clarkson has been singled out as a post-secondary institution that provides a link to high schools and corporate advisers. Clarkson’s involvement has enabled participating students to be better prepared for life.”

Every year, the 30 members of the New York State Tech Prep Consortia honor three outstanding programs that deal with applied learning.  Awards are handed out in three categories: Best Student, Best Educator and Best Partnership.

The North Country partnership received its award for their work with ITEAM, a multidisciplinary academic program at Plattsburgh High School that encompasses math, science, engineering, technology, language and the arts, and provides students with a hands-on, real-world approach to problem solving.

ITEAM was formed in 1999 with the help of Clarkson University and Georgia-Pacific. Like a similar program at Massena High School, local industry provides real-life case studies for high school students to solve under the mentoring and direction of a team of Clarkson students and their teachers.
Marta Pauer-Tursi, communications manager for Georgia-Pacific, says the company sees great benefit in supporting programs such as ITEAM. “Georgia-Pacific is committed to supporting the community through educational partnerships such as this one,” says Pauer-Tursi. “This kind of immersion in the workplace enables students to see the connection between academic studies and workplace application.”

Last year, ITEAM worked on two case studies from Georgia-Pacific, says Sandra L. Zuhlsdorf, executive officer of the Clarkson University School of Business. One involved an engineering and production problem, the other involved a plant safety program. “This year, students are designing a park at a former dredging site on Lake Champlain,” she says. “During the spring, they will work on a human resource case involving the employee recruiting program at Georgia-Pacific.

“Students also take field trips to Clarkson to participate in leadership training, teambuilding and technology seminars.  Georgia-Pacific has also provided plant tours. The goal here is to develop strong workforce skills in high school students.”

Zuhlsdorf says Clarkson students played an important role in the ITEAM partnership. Those students include team leader Molly J. Rock (MBA, Morrisonville, N.Y.), Mark P. Wagner, Jr. ‘01 (mechanical and aeronautical engineering, Corfu, N.Y.), Eliana Salcedo (MS, Saranac Lake, N.Y.), Scott E. Burlingame ’02 (Honors Program/civil and environmental engineering, Galway, N.Y., and Meghan B. Hammerle ’02 (Honors Program/civil and environmental engineering, Syracuse, N.Y.).

“This partnership represents a true learning community with Clarkson students working with Plattsburgh High School teachers to mentor and coach the high school students through problem solving and skill development,” says Zuhlsdorf.  “The Clarkson team is made up of business students, mechanical engineers, and civil engineers from the Honors Program, each providing leadership skills from their area of expertise, while Georgia-Pacific provides the workplace component, the real-life work exposure and case studies to solve.  Everyone wins here."

McKeown agrees. “Without Clarkson’s involvement, our partnerships in our region would not be as good,” she says. “They stepped up to the plate to help our students succeed.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Administrators from the ITEAM program show off their hardware after being named Best Community/Business Partnership by the New York State Tech Prep Consortia. From left: Marta Pauer-Tursi, communications manager, Georgia Pacific; Sandra L. Zuhlsdorf, executive officer, Clarkson University School of Business; Pat McKeown, coordinator of Educational Partnerships, St. Lawrence/Lewis (BOCES); and ITEAM teachers Thomas Via, Roger Lacroix and Marianne Bernard of the Plattsburgh City Schools.

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

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