Kittanning Senior High has led the Armstrong School District in number of junior students that have attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences, and applications are now being taken for this summer’s program at Carnegie Mellon University. (KP File Photo)
by Jonathan Weaver
High school juniors in Armstrong County are now eligible to apply for the state Governor’s School for the Sciences.
This year’s program will be held from June 29-August 2, 2014 at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Governor Tom Corbett, education leaders, Carnegie Mellon University and the school’s alumni, the program will offer an enrichment experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and encourages Pennsylvania’s youth to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
The educational program is available to students who attend a public, nonpublic and private school, or are home-schooled.
In its entirety, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences is a five-week summer residential program that emphasizes cooperative learning and hands-on laboratory research for 56 high school juniors pursuing careers in science and mathematics.
Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq endorsed the program.
“Careers in the sciences will contribute significantly to Pennsylvania’s economic growth and will help secure the state’s long-term financial stability,” Dumaresq said. “This program is an excellent way for interested high school students to delve deeper into the sciences and expand their knowledge and training in this growing field.”
The summer 2014 Governor’s School will be the second year the program will operate since ending in 2008.
Accepted applicants will receive a full scholarship to the program. Costs are underwritten through a $150,000 grant from the state Department of Education with matching funds provided by the school’s alumni, Carnegie Mellon University, parents and corporations.
Awarded scholarships will cover the costs of housing, meals and all instructional materials. Families are responsible for transportation to and from the university, personal items and spending money. Students must commit to living on campus at Carnegie Mellon University throughout the duration of the program.
CMU’s Mellon College of Science hosted the Governor’s School from 1982 until 2009, when the Governor’s Schools became a casualty of state budget cuts. To help reinstate the program at CMU, the nonprofit PGSS Campaign, Inc. — organized by PGSS alumni — raised $150,000 from private and corporate donors to match a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Teaching professor of physics at CMU and PGSS Program Director Barry Luokkala praised alumni that got the program back.
“The alumni of the program pushed to get the funding restored,” Luokkala said. “So many of the alumni have said that the Governor’s School was life-changing. They wanted the school back so that other students could have the same experience.”
All of the PGSS alumni went on to college, and, according to Luokkala, approximately 90 percent went on to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
“PGSS allows us to bring together some of the most highly intelligent minds from all over the state,” Luokkala said. “The experience is socially transformative, and will leave the students academically and scientifically enriched.”
The summer 2013 session enrolled 56 students from 48 high schools in 28 of the state’s 29 intermediate units.
At least 45 students within the ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 have attended the Governor’s School for the Sciences since it began. While six of those students have been from the Armstrong School District – four from Kittanning Senior High – Indiana Area High School has sent the most regionally, 24.
Online records only showed those that attended before the 2009 cancellation.
Completed applications must be sent to Carnegie Mellon University and postmarked no later than January 31. Applications postmarked after this date will be disqualified.
Additional information about the program can be found via