According to Dr. Richard Begley, professor of engineering who is directing the project at Marshall, the funds will be used to help develop high school classes focused on energy and power and implemented in cooperation with the West Virginia Department of Education and the Southern Regional Education Board.
“Last year, Marshall was selected to participate in SREB’s Advanced Career initiative with this program, which is designed to increase the number of students who leave high school prepared for advanced study, further training and, ultimately, careers in energy and power,” said Begley. “This generous grant from Alpha Natural Resources will allow us to enhance the program and will give us the opportunity to visit some of the participating schools.”
The new courses were designed by teams from universities and high schools in partnership with industry experts. The curriculum incorporates a hands-on approach with experiments, and the students are learning to apply mathematical and scientific concepts to solve problems commonly found in the energy and power industry.
Begley said the grant was awarded through Alpha’s Community Involvement Program. The amount of the grant has not been disclosed.
Keith Hainer, senior vice president of Alpha’s Operations Performance Group, said, “We look for ways to enrich our communities by supporting programs that create growth and advancement opportunities in our local areas. This partnership with Marshall will give high school students an edge and increase the knowledge base of our future workforce. The early exposure to skills and instruction in these areas will benefit not only the students who receive training, but also the communities at large.”
Photo: Dr. Richard Begley, engineering professor, left, accepts a check from Keith Hainer of Alpha Natural Resources. At right is Lance West, Marshall’s vice president for development.