(Augusta, GA) – In its fourth year of existence, the Paine College Training & Research Experiences in Environmental Science (TREES) program exposes students to the STEM disciplines, enhances their written and oral communication skills and reinforces essential skills necessary for pursuing a STEM major in college. “This program is a bridge between STEM career opportunities and talented students within communities not traditionally targeted,” said Dr. Lawanda Cummings, who serves as the program’s director. The Cummings also noted 90% of the program participants returned from the prior year.
Steve Swenson has been an instructor for the program since its inception. “It has been a wonderful opportunity to see groups of students from middle and high school to take challenges and difference experiences. They put in long days. It is very hard work”. Swenson has been teaching for 39 years and is currently a science teacher at Alleluia Community School of Augusta.
Swenson also shared, “Overall, by the time we complete the program participants gain a lot from the experience. I want the students to walk away feeling challenged and ‘stretched’”.
Each of the TREES 45 participants are residents of the campus for six weeks and attend challenging courses in the areas of STEM. Course work includes Environmental Biology, Environmental Chemistry, Quantitative Analysis, Environmental Research, and Communication Skills/Technical Writing.
Daryl Littles, a rising senior at Cross Creek High School and program participant said, “This is my third year. The math and science work help me in school. I get a head start here”.
Darius Johnson, of Cherokee County is also a rising senior at Sequoyah High School. “The program has awakened me of environmental issues, such as the negative effects of water bottles”, shared Johnson.
The TREES program will host its Awards Ceremony on Thursday, July 12, 2013 on the campus of Paine College.
Photo caption: TREES program participant, Syeda Coleman, a sophomore at Davidson Fine Arts School, a magnet school of Augusta, conducting research during a lab session.