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MC2 STEM High School Students Win Awards from Siemens to Improve Community

January 7, 2013 12:00 AM — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROOTSTOWN, OHIO

Contact: Heather Bing, hbing@neomed.edu, 330.325.6675

An innovative program led by Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) recently guided teams of students at MC2 STEM high school, one of 26 high schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, to earn grant funding from technology innovator Siemens totaling nearly $7,000 for health and environmental programs they implemented in their communities.

Under the leadership of NEOMED faculty member Gina Weisblat, Ph.D., director of Education for Service, the year-long community action grant program inspired students to take a problem-based learning approach to developing program plans and grant proposals addressing community issues identified by each team. Students conducted research about their issues, worked collaboratively with classmates and engaged with the larger community to create original grant proposals that were reviewed by individuals from NEOMED, Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, John Carroll University, the Area Health Education Center and Siemens.

“By completing their research, funding requests and program execution, students acquired valuable and marketable skills necessary to create social change in the 21st century while working to improve the larger community,” said Dr. Weisblat. “Empowering students to construct an environment where teaching and learning germinates and sustains itself is at the heart of NEOMED’s ongoing efforts to develop students and communities throughout the region intent on bettering the health and livelihood of others.”

Community issues addressed by the student projects included gambling, anti-bullying, increased physical activity among children, and mental, emotional and physical health concerns. Throughout the program, the students drafted program plans, learned how to gain access to resources needed to execute their plans and then implemented their plans, refining the projects as needed.

“As a project-based STEM school intent on preparing our students for college and successful careers in STEM fields, MC2 was delighted to partner with NEOMED on this program,” said Jeffrey D. McClellan, principal at MC2 STEM high school. “Our students are engaged in a dynamic, rigorous curriculum, and the community action grant program dovetailed perfectly with our coursework, teaching ways to articulate goals, leverage assets, think creatively and develop many other translatable skills that go well beyond the classroom environment.”

The community action grant program culminated with Charles Cohen, national sustainability education director at Siemens, presenting the award funding to each team during an awards ceremony at the high school.  Siemens, a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering in industry, energy, health care and infrastructure, has been a leader in supporting STEM education and sustainability initiatives in communities across the country.

“Siemens is proud to recognize the value of empowering students to identify and creatively address issues impacting their local communities,” said Cohen. “We applaud the leadership efforts of the academic and business partners supporting these initiatives. These help to create pipelines of community-minded, college-bound students ready to enact change. This program serves as a national model for this type of educational program, providing immediate and tangible impact for participants, as well as sustainable outcomes for surrounding communities.”

The community action grant program at MC2 STEM high school is one of many Health Professions Affinity Communities (HPACs) being implemented under NEOMED’s leadership as part of its larger community engagement initiative to support and guide high school students with an interest in pursuing a health professions career, empowering them to develop sustainable programs that make a difference in the health of their communities.

“While student participants stand to benefit greatly from this program, their communities benefit as well,” said Erik Porfeli, Ph.D., assistant dean of community engagement and partnerships at NEOMED. “By focusing on health-related and environmental issues, the students’ programs provide services aimed at improving the quality of life and health of community residents, which is also at the heart of NEOMED’s mission. Together, we are preparing students to be actively engaged citizens, capable of enacting tangible change in society.”

About MC2 STEM High School
MC2 STEM High School is a project-based STEM school intent on preparing students for college and successful careers in STEM fields. Students are engaged in a dynamic, rigorous curriculum and project-based learning environment that will prepare them for the 21st century global economy. On top of classes and projects, MC2 STEM provides students access to internships and apprenticeship opportunities to gain first-hand experience in specific professions to assist with career planning decisions for what to do after graduation. MC2 STEM High School has partnered with many institutions of higher education, allowing our students to take college courses, simultaneously earning high school and college credits. This unique opportunity will provide for a seamless transition from high school to college or the workforce.

About Northeast Ohio Medical University
Northeast Ohio Medical University is a community-based, public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in Northeast Ohio working in collaboration with its educational and clinical partners. With a focus on scientific and medical research, and the interprofessional training of health professionals that is unique to the state of Ohio, the University offers a doctor of medicine (M.D.) and a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, in addition to graduate-level coursework and research opportunities leading to master’s and doctoral degrees in other medical areas. Northeast Ohio Medical University is a founding member of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Visit www.neomed.edu.

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