MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/26/13) – On Friday afternoon, in the shadow of TVA Paradise Plant in Muhlenberg County, representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) presented a $5,000 check to Madisonville Community College’s “Girls in Engineering and Technology” program.
“TVA has a long history of supporting public education, particularly that which promotes development of skills in the science and technology fields,” said Emily Reynolds, Senior Vice President of Government Relations. “This unique program is designed for sixth-grade girls in Hopkins County and Muhlenberg County schools to learn about science and technology.”
Ms. Reynolds, joined TVA as Senior Vice President of Communications in 2007 after serving as the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, only the fifth female to serve in that position.
“The program gives girls a hands-on experience that will give them confidence and broaden their knowledge of career opportunities in the fields of math, science and technology,” said Mike Davenport, Director of Workforce Solutions at MCC.
Reynolds explained that, "The unique program requires students to build a fictional pipeline between Western Kentucky coal mines and the TVA Paradise Fossil Plant. Students draft the plan, create a budget and ultimately power simulated generators that will test the success of their efforts. Students also have the opportunity to meet with women who are already working in the industry or who are studying in science and technology fields in high school and college."
Judy Rhoades, President of Madisonville Community College was on hand for the ceremony. President Rhoades said, “I am delighted that TVA is interested in girls in engineering, and they want to see girls be successful in a field where there are mainly men. We're honored to have this program, designed to serve approximately 300 sixth-grade girls in Hopkins County and over 200 in Muhlenberg County. It's pretty exciting. In the process of the program there are women engineers with students to help them see that women can become engineers in our society. What we’re looking at is for females to start making good math and science decisions at an early age, so they will choose a more difficult curriculum when they get into high school."
Also attending the presentation was Paula Pendergraf of Workforce Development, Scott Fallecker, TVA Paradise Plant Manager, Pam Fleming, Engineering Manager of TVA, and Sarah Davasher-Wisdom with TVA.
Emphasizing the importance of increasing the number of women choosing engineering as a career, Reynolds added that, "It's very important for us to encourage young people in thinking about their careers and workforce development. Hopefully we'll see the results of this program and others as young people look at careers in TVA over time. The STEM education program [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] is a significant investment for us. We'll look forward to training young engineers, especially girls in this program as we go forward."
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