2019-20 Elementary STEM Club Application Process is OPEN!!

OSU Extension, Pickaway County and Teays Valley School District have teamed up to plan and implement the district’s third annual after-school elementary-wide STEM Club. We will meet approximately 2 times per month in each of the four elementary buildings from 3:30-5:00 pm. Participants will be limited to 30 students per building. Acceptance in the after-school program will be an application based lottery. There will be a $ 25 fee for the year with financial hardship waivers available. The fee can be cash or check (written out to OSU Extension, Pickaway County) and turned in at the first STEM Club meeting or mailed to OSU Extension, Pickaway County, P.O. Box 9, Circleville, OH 43113. Save STEM Club blog, u.osu.edu/tvstemclub/, regular updates will be posted to website; such as, club meeting highlights, STEM challenges, and open access to the STEM Club calendar for your student’s STEM Club meetings. The goal of the program is to promote student interest and engagement in STEM in each of the elementaries. This program is considered an extension of the school day. Participants will be engaged in hands-on STEM activities and learn about careers in STEM.

Students who may enjoy STEM club are those who enjoy being challenged and who are interested in:

  • the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)
  • the process of learning, asking questions and problem solving
  • helping people and making a difference in the world

If your child is interested in participating in the lottery visit the STEM Club Blog site for information and complete the online applicationApplications must be submitted online by the end of the school day, Friday, August 23rd. NO LATE APPLICATIONS BECAUSE IT IS A LOTTERY! (STEM Club Meeting dates are subject to change. In the event of school cancellation, STEM club will be canceled and not rescheduled.)


Judy Walley, TV High School Chemistry Teacher & STEM Club Educator, jwalley@tvsd.us
Meghan Thoreau, CD & STEM Extension Educator, thoreau.1@osu.edu

Recap: 2019 National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP)

The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace, presentation cover slide

Presentation cover slide, The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace

This past June Meghan Thoreau presented a scholarly presentation on, The Importance of Millennials in the Workplace, at the 2019 National Association of Community Development Professionals in Asheville, NC. The 30-minute presentation, go.osu.edu/millennials, highlighted:

  1. The changing conditions in the workplace and the workforce induced by emerging technologies, like automation and AI, which are expected to further disrupt ‘the nature work’ and entry-level workers.
  2. General values and career priorities of Millennials. What Millennials want, value, expect from employers, bring to the workplace, how they can improve the workplace, and how to attract Millennials.
  3. Considers possible Extension Generational Program Development ideas, tools, and strategies to engage business and industry that are interested in reevaluating traditional approaches to: employee acquisition, job assignment, employee development, and influencing over organizational culture to support the current and future workforce, in addition to, reevaluating the hiring process and targeted skill sets.
  4. Be proactive of Generation Z, ages 7-24, starting to enter the workforce.

Meghan is very willing to present on this topic and related topics to the local community and business leaders to foster a collaborative discussion on next-steps or programming feedback to considering new approaches and strategies to our youth workforce development programming. Contact Meghan Thoreau, OSU Extension Education, Thoreau.1@osu.edu.

She and her fellow OSUE colleagues were also National NACDEP Award Recipients. Becky Nesbitt (Distinguished Career Award); Brooke Beam (Cross Program Award – Using Virtual Reality in Educational Programming), and Meghan Thoreau (Educational Technology Award – Scholastic High School Drone Racing League Program); and Amanda Osborne (Educational Materials Award – Produce Perks Toolkit for Farmers Markets). These individuals were also North Central Regional  NACDEP winners.

A worthy read, Generation Z enters the workforce: generational and technological challenges in entry-level jobs, by Carolyn O’Boyle, Josefin Atack, and Kelly Monahan. Asks the hard questions, With Generation Z entering the workforce and the nature of entry-level jobs changing, how can organizations redesign these jobs in a way that can both attract and engage Gen Z and ensure that these jobs continue to generate a pipeline of future talent?

NACDEP 2018 Cleveland, OH – Train the Trainer, Hands-on Coding Workshop: Sphero

Are you involved in Youth Workforce Development Programs that targets the 21st Century Skillsets? Please join me at this years National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) in Cleveland, OH, June 9-13, 2018. I will be teaching a 90-minute workshop, Wednesday June 13th from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., through a partnership between Apple, we’ll be offering an important hands-on ‘entry point’ into computer coding for Educators – train the trainer style – because coding should not be intimidating. As a well-trained Educator, you have all of the skills you need to be successful. Your goal can be to just teach enough of the basics to inspire our youth to explore the multitude of career opportunities that computer programming underlays. For more information please visit, http://www.nacdep.net/2018-nacdep-conference.

Westfall Elementary Students, STEM Camp

Code is everywhere: agriculture, sports, education, art/design, pharmaceutics, robotics, health, entertainment, travel, law, politics, engineering, transportation, meteorology, tourism – you get the point. No youth or 21st Century Workforce Development Program should be absent of code.

Circleville Middle School Students, STEM Day


Learning Infographic Design

DATA VISUALIZATION – I’ve been experimenting with a few infographic design sites to create better visuals in my writing and presenting. Graphics help illustrate big problems through visual language, distill complex ideas, and call attention to overlooked issues. Here I used, venngage.com, to create a quick computer science (CS) timeline highlighting programming milestones from the 1800s to present day.

Computer Science Timeline

Great infographic resources to look over and explore


2017 Science Olympiad State Tournament

Last Saturday, I attended the 2017 Science Olympiad State Tournament hosted by the Ohio State University’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning, and I volunteered at the helicopter competition. I’m interested in supporting Science Olympiad (SO) clubs in Pickaway County and wanted to see the students in action and how the competitions are run. I joined the many parents, coaches, students, several interested professors, educators, and residents who volunteered because they valued science. After talking to many of them, I understand that they support the competition because it challenges our youth to explore and apply the systematic study of structure and behavior through observations and experiments.

I’d highly recommend getting involved and learning how to bring a SO club to your school! The video below is from a helicopter competition last season. 

The participants had their helicopters inspected, weighted, and their log books reviewed. It’s called a tournament, and it is, but it’s also a big, open experimental day of test flights, continued learning, networking, application, and assessment of new environmental variables. I was enamored at the varying levels of experience, dedication, and skill that was acquired from previous research and preflight tests. There was mastery from the veteran students that came back year after year to improve their designs and understanding of aerodynamics. I was impressed with Ohio’s SO, the projects, and exploration the competitions gave the students.

To date, Pickaway County has one Science Olympiad club – in Westfall Middle school headed by Rachael Joseph a dedicated 6th grade science teacher. I visited her after-school club and was thoroughly impressed with the students dedication, camaraderie, and drive to experiment, learn, and apply. If your a parent or a teacher interested in growing more SO clubs in Pickaway County, please contact me: 740.474.7534, thoreau.1@osu.edu. The state SO office is looking for more rural school districts to enter their competitions!

And for an easy helicopter activity to try with your kids, click here.

For over 30 years, Science Olympiad has led a revolution in science education. What began as a grassroots assembly of science teachers is now one of the premier science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges to nearly 7,000 teams in 50 states. Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering, and technology.

The Science Olympiad national tournament is the culmination of nearly 300 regional and state tournaments. This year it will take place May 19-20, 2017, at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. For more information about Science Olympiad, visit www.soinc.org.

STEM Parenthood: every childhood needs a little coding

By: Meghan Thoreau

Living in a technology-driven society puts added pressure on parents. Parents have to make decisions about the role technology plays in our kids’ recreation and education, all the while building enthusiasm towards the sciences and creative technologies that appear to be dominating the 21st century job market. And yes, I still want my children to grow, laugh, run, create, travel, and enjoy their life. I also believe there are a good deal of parents that may feel lacking in skills or confidence to be the technological role models they want to be for their kids.

Kano Assembly
I’ve decided to introduce coding into my children’s life without ever writing a line of code my myself. We bought a Kano, a new DIY computer kit designed to help young kids and adults learn to code by assembling a computer and learning code through interactive activities like making music, art, streaming HD video, reprogramming games like Pong and Minecraft, composing music, word processing and web browsing. Kano collaborated with Raspberry Pi and Codecademy and is designed for educators to adopt student-led learning in the classroom or empower parents to support computer science learning at home.

And its so easy a six-year-old can do it. Last month, my six-year-old daughter (with just a little guidance) put together her Kano and started coding within the hour; impressive. She now takes pride in sitting at her work station and codes with the interactive games that visually build and support her learning and attention. She sees it more as a game and is therefore almost unintentionally learning basic coding skills through play. I’ve also enjoyed watching how her Kano is helping increase her reading, typing, and computer skills as she moves around the computer programs and familiarizes herself with its capabilities and decides what to do on the system. Kano is a great tool to introduce responsible technology and basic coding skills in your child’s life.

Art Exhibit Inspires Tech Innovation in Art Curriculums

Photo of Jason Salavon

Photo of Jason Salavon retrieved from artist’s website, jasonsalavon.com

By: Meghan Thoreau

Tech Artist Jason Salavon has embraced technology to create art, developing a new way of looking at the familiar. Through his own software programming designs, Salavon creates codes and algorithms that manipulate data into new shapes and forms to study and consider. His final compositions are exhibited as photographic prints, video installations, and interactive software engagement stations. Salavon’s art is comprised of true STEAM; science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This intermingling of art and technology could breathe new life into our high school art classes, art education curriculums, and career advancement.

‘Abstract Scaffolding’

I was recently introduced to Salavon’s work through an exhibit at the Columbus Art Museum in Columbus, Ohio. The final compositions on display belong to a broader series of portraits that started in 1997 and was explored through 2011. The three images displayed have a ghost-like atmospheric essences that require several minutes of closer inspection and thought to really appreciate. I was especially drawn to the Anthony van Dyck Portrait, the middle piece depicted above, which Salavon created (through a software code) by merging the bulk portraiture works of van Dyck into a single image. I thought the final composition had a over arching feminine buttressing quality, despite the mixed nature of his portrait inputs that went into the algorithm. It is the subtleties of images, the colors, light, composition, etc. that reveal patterns in the data through Salavon’s averaging imagery technique that is fascinating to contemplate.

A portion of Salavon’s Portraits Series that spans from 1997 to 2011, on display at the Columbus Art Museum. Photo by Meghan Thoreau.

QuoteSalavon’s computing technique compels his audience to observe traces of the input of what was, while simultaneously understanding the output image of what now is. Data is powerful and despite manipulation, still leaves a trace of the original essence, but aggregates itself into a new computation.(1) Salavon stated, “Data has a story to tell and its very hard to silence.”

High Tech En Masse Portraiture

Another famous Salavon averaging series is Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades (normalized) 2002. The series divides the Playboy magazine centerfolds from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s into four respective en masse portraitures through his mean averaging software  processing technique. Salavon is drawn to qualities of response that reinforces clichés, especially over the power of the individual and its uniformity to the masses. Patterns of images and data often reveal themselves with averaging, such as, how the 1960’s centerfolds models had less lighting effects to enhance body features then the 1980s and 90s centerfolds. The models of the 1960s and 70s also appear to have more sideways turned models then later decades. Art creates a visual forum to observe and discuss important nuances, themes, and variations about society and how we evolve over time that may otherwise go unnoticed. Salavon’s innovative decision to infuse his art with technology keeps art relevant in a technology driven world.

Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades 2002

Every Playboy Centerfold, The Decades (normalized) 2002

Other powerful installations by Salavon include the American Varietal (Atlas) 2013, permanently installed at the headquarters of the US Census Bureau in Washington, D.C.. The installation was created by the compiling of US population data by county from 1790 to 2011. Colors were determined by states’ flag colors.

Permanent installation, American Varietal (Atlas) 2013, US Census Bureau Headquarters.

Permanent installation, American Varietal (Atlas) 2013, US Census Bureau Headquarters.

Real-time interactive system, structural steel, multi-touch screen of American Varietal (Atlas).

Real-time interactive system, structural steel, multi-touch screen of American Varietal (Atlas).

He then processed the database into a 3D graphical image that Salavon chose to rotate and freeze into the final image pictured above. He later included a real-time interactive multi-touch screen that allows people to explore the graphic and population data more thoroughly. Again, Salavon re-establishes the importance of both art and technology into our daily lives, education systems, and workplaces.

Salavon’s, Shoes, Domestic Production, 1960-1998 video installation in 2001, took domestic shoe sales from the US and coded the  database into a 3D visual graphic representation. The base of the image is wide and over the years the datum points narrow to the top representing the outsourcing overtime of shoe manufacturing to outside the US. His work requires closer inspection and understanding than a first glance suggests.

Shoes, Domestic Production, 1960-1998, 2001 from Jason Salavon Studio on Vimeo.

Salavon’s work requires more of his audience then a traditional artist. Onlookers must not only observe the final product, but the technology driven process behind its methodology: part human selection, part human programming, and part autonomy of running a software program to create #techart.

Salavon has been compared to J.M.W. Turner and later Impressionists, but where those artists relentlessly tried to explore the style of space by brush and paint, Salavon unremittingly chooses technology as his medium to artistically explore data.

Graphic design, the process of visual communication and problem-solving via the use of typography, photography and illustration, has brought computers into art classrooms, but Salavon’s work demonstrates that more technology, such as software programming, has place in art education and STEAM career pathways.

Jason Salavon has a large collection of work worth exploring, visit jasonsalavon.com.


(1) Data is used in this post as a singular mass noun to describe information.