Embarking on what promises to be another successful program year, STEP had its orientation program at the "Carl B. Stokes" Public Utilities Building, which was again graciously hosted by the Cleveland Division of Water.
STEP is an educational outreach program designed to peak students´ interests in career fields involving mathematics, science, engineering and other technical related fields. By attending Saturday Tours to different sites, participants are able to see first hand the ways in which various jobs use these backgrounds as a foundation to perform their jobs within the community.
The orientation gave students and parents alike the chance to find out what the program is about and the challenges and expectations that lie ahead in the upcoming year. Afterwards, the audience was given the opportunity to answer questions and / or give comments.
On Saturday, October 19, approximately 40 STEP students participated in the first tour of the year to the NEORSD Laboratory Facility. Students first participated in an interactive exercise where they were asked to utilize all of their senses to make qualitative and quantitative assessments of objects. Following the interactive exercise, students were taken on a tour of the District’s Laboratory Facility. They were given the opportunity to witness and participate in several water quality tests the District performs on samples from each of the District’s three wastewater treatment plants.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand
Students learned how the amount of oxygen required by microorganisms feeding on organic matter in wastewater is measured using the 5-day Biochemical Oxygen Demand Test (BOD5). Students were also shown how to prevent BOD5 samples from being influenced by Nitrification, the oxygen demand from the bacterial conversion of ammonia-nitrogen to nitrates.
Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
Students were able to watch how suspended solids are filtered, dried, and measured from raw influent and final effluent samples. Students were asked to demonstrate what they had learned by performing calculations to quantify the TSS from an actual sample, after they accumulated all the necessary data.
Students learned how to perform Fecal Coliform Bacteria counts in wastewater samples. They also observed how different bacteria cultures are grown and identified, and the importance of proper inactivation and disposal methods of bacteria sample dishes.
Bio assay Evaluation
Students observed how water quality affects native aquatic species living in Lake Erie and Northeast Ohio waterways. Students were educated on the important role of smaller organisms, such as brine shrimp and water fleas, in identifying the health of our water environment.
On Saturday, December 14, 2002, the students participating in STEP embarked on a tour of Inventure Place in Akron, Ohio. The tour started with a scavenger hunt of “The National Inventors Hall of Fame”. Here the students, working in pairs, were given 23 questions about inductees and their inventions. Each inductee had a picture and a short description of why he or she was in the Inventors Hall of Fame. To answer the questions, the students had to read more than 100 descriptions. There are several floors of inductees, with lots of reading. The students said this part of the tour was educational because they had the opportunity to learn about inductees and inventions that are not in their text books at their respective schools. The students were also impressed by the openness of different inventions, like the elevator, because they could see how everything worked.
When the scavenger hunt ended, the students moved to the bottom floor for the hands on activities. It is here that Inventure Place offers something for everyone. Some of the students made crafts in the Arts and Crafts area, while others preferred the “Woodshop Room”. This room was a hit with both boys and girls because they tinkered with tools such a saws, hammers and drills. The students made key hooks, plaques with their initials, and birdcages. They even took their creation home. The computer tech students designed and customized their own dream car via the computer. The group took lots of pictures to show off their inventions.
The tour ended with everyone making “SNOW”. However the students were disappointed because they were not allow to take the “SNOW” onto the bus. The students seemed to have had a GREAT Experience at Inventure Place.
Saturday, November, 16th, the STEP group toured Burke Lakefront Airport located on the shores of Lake Erie, where students had the opportunity to tour the airport facility. The first stop on the tour included a tour of the operation tower. The students discovered the responsibilities of the tower staff, and were shown the instruments used to guide airplanes and helicopters into the airport.
Participants were then taken on the runway and shown a small Cessna airplane, where they had the opportunity to board the plane. While the aforementioned activities were taking place, other group members toured through the International Women’s Air & Space Museum. Students were able to learn about the contributions that Woman have made over the years to the Aeronautics and Space flight.
Next the group went to the flight hanger where they were greeted by one of Cleveland’s own Police Department Helicopter Pilots. Students were give a general explanation / lesson in how a helicopter actually flies. They were also introduced to the responsibilities as a helicopter pilot for the Cleveland Police force. Afterwards participants had the chance to actually board the helicopter and sit in the Pilot’s chair and learn the functions of the different instruments.
Finally students visited the Cleveland Air Sports Flying School. They learned what classes were required for a individual to obtain a “pilots” license, and the associated cost. The tour concluded with the group visiting the fire department at Burke Lakefront Airport. While at the fire station the STEP group learned the responsibilities of the department, with respect to the Airport and had the chance to try on fire fighters equipment. In addition, the group had the chance to board the Main Fire Truck which holds 2000 gallons and disperse the water at a rate of 150 gallons per minute (GPM) for approximately 10 minutes.
On Saturday January 18th, STEP held its third annual Career Day. Hosted by the Cleveland Division of Water, students spoke with professionals and learned the demands, requirements, and daily responsibilities of the following careers:
Edwin Guasp, a chemist with the Cleveland Division of Water, talked to students about his responsibilities. Students learned that in many instances the water that comes out of the tap is better than many bottled waters on the market. He further explained that during the treatment process at the water plant, chlorine is added to the water to keep the water from becoming contaminated, and fluoride is added to protect your teeth. Mr. Guasp explained how these Federal guidelines protect us all, and that bottled water does not have to stand up to these same requirements.
Tangie Johnson, Tony Saunders and Randy Priest from Emergency Medical Services provided students the chance to hear about the demands of their careers. Students learned of the type of training that is required to perform the duties of this profession. In addition, the group examined and used the equipment that is typically needed when responding to an emergency call.
Clarence Shaw, a chemist with the Cleveland Division of Water, spoke to the group about the treatment process applied to the water before it enters their homes. He described the treatment process and why it’s necessary. Students learned that alum and carbon are added to the water when it first enters the Water Treatment Plant to improve the water as part of the treatment process.
William Mack from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District talked to the students about the wastewater treatment process. The Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant receives raw sewage from various tunnels throughout the City of Cleveland. It then goes through a process involving screening to remove large particles, and settling, to remove smaller gravel-sized material. From here, the sewage enters a settling process that removes smaller inorganic material, then air is introduced to accelerate the process flow. A secondary settling process is then incorporated to settle the microbes used during digestion. Some of the microbes are returned to the aeration process for re-use in the digestion process. Following this, chlorine and sodium bisulfate are added to prepare water for discharge into Lake Erie.
Dr. Timothy Wolfe, from MWH talked to students about the different career opportunities within the engineering field. Dr. Wolfe briefly touched on the different disciplines of Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, & Mechanical Engineering. Students then had the chance to ask questions about the education required to obtain a degree in one of the various fields, in addition to learning what a typical day might entail.
Students then attended an “executive” luncheon. Afterwards all of the students had the chance to talk about what careers they wanted to pursue and what interested them most about the field of their choice. Thanks, to all of the presenters for their time and invaluable insight to the different careers that they spoke about!!