The students, who also came from Oyler School and Walnut Hills High School, received a modest stipend to assist with financial concerns, as many students would otherwise be working over the summer.
For both sponsors, the program is an investment in the future of their fields and success of the Cincinnati community, increasing local talent and promoting diversity in STEM.
“We want to be active participants and make our communities better,” said Greg Riley, president of Schaefer. “We believe in this. We think that one thing we can do is to invest in the youth of our community.”
Stanford Williams Jr., vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer at Messer, stresses the importance of giving back and helping others.
“We should find a way to embrace and meet people where they are and help those who may not have the same opportunities that you may have,” said Williams.
The curriculum focuses on recognizing and applying physics in real life.
“We wanted students to see that physics isn’t highly abstract,” said Don Wittrock, program coordinator for community engagement. “They’re being affected by physics — they just don’t know it.”
He and Brad Ciminowasielewski, a physics instructor at Winton Woods High School, designed projects that students could complete at home and connect their real-world experiences of physics with the laws and formulas in each lesson.
Schaefer hosted a virtual demonstration of a shake table in a workshop on seismic activity and structural engineering. Representatives from both companies met with students to discuss their fields.
Every student in the class now has a physics credit on their high school transcript.
“No matter what the platform, you can still create an environment where students are going to connect,” said Wittrock. “Once they connect, they’re going to succeed.”