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Columbia Pipeline grant expands K-12 science programs

January 10, 2014

The Columbia Pipeline Group recently awarded the Saint Francis University Science Outreach Center a $30,000 contribution for its Rural Outreach Chemistry for Kids (R.O.C.K.) program.

Traditionally, the R.O.C.K. program has allowed Saint Francis students share their love of chemistry through experiments in local K-12 schools in Cambria, Blair, Bedford, Clearfield, and Somerset counties; occasionally crossing into additional counties. The program was founded 1995 by Dr. Edward P. Zovinka, SFU Professor of Chemistry, and the American Chemical Society-Student Affiliates (Chemistry Club).
ROCK event at Bedford Middle School
ROCK experiments at Bedford Middle School

As a result of this contribution from the Columbia Pipeline Group, the R.O.C.K. program will be able to expand that mission to provide new pipeline safety activities in K-12 schools as well as to develop new activities in other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. To kick off the expanded STEM-focused programming, Dr. Zovinka is teaming up with Dr. Rachel Wagner, SFU Assistant Professor of Engineering, and Melissa Greiner, the Science Outreach Center Program Coordinator, to revise the curriculum to offer new environmental engineering outreach activities.

“The donation by the Columbia Pipeline Group is greatly appreciated! The donation provides a great opportunity for the ROCK program to involve more SFU students and expand our menu of events. With the donation and K-12 partners, we will increase our efforts to show the relevance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to K-12 students in our region,” explained Dr. Zokinka

The Columbia Pipeline Group became aware of the of the R.O.C. K. program after learning of the Energy and Marcellus Shale Gas Workshop hosted at the University in April 2013. “We were very impressed with St. Francis University’s focus on energy production within the framework of environmental stewardship. We are also excited to see a vibrant STEM-education outreach effort happening though the R.O.C.K. program. We felt that the hands-on, K-12 school-based outreach program aligned with our pipeline safety education efforts as well as our efforts to promote STEM education,” said Carmella King, public awareness and communications manager for the Columbia Pipeline Group. With STEM-related graduates in short supply, companies such as the Columbia Pipeline Group are funding efforts within the school system to encourage more students to think about careers in STEM fields.

About Columbia Pipeline Group
As units of NiSource Inc., the CPG companies include Columbia Gas Transmission, Columbia Gulf Transmission, Crossroads Pipeline, Central Kentucky Transmission and Hardy Storage. Combined with CPG’s operation of Millennium Pipeline Company, the CPG companies operate about 15,000 miles of interstate natural gas pipeline and 37 storage fields, delivering over 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year. For more information about Columbia Pipeline Group, please visit www.columbiapipelinegroup.com. Connect with CPG on Facebook at www.facebook.com/columbiapipelinegroup.

About St. Francis University
Founded in 1847, Saint Francis University is the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the country, and one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the nation.