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Local Students Compete in STEM Challenge

Newark, Ohio, February 23, 2016 — "Education is a matter of building bridges," said writer and scholar Ralph Ellison, and students in Knox County are taking this advice literally. On February 27, 2016, 28 teams will compete in either the toothpick bridge challenge sponsored by Central Ohio Technical College (COTC), home energy challenge sponsored by Kenyon College and Owens Corning Science and Technology Center, or global water challenge sponsored by Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU) as part of STEMfest!® Knox. The public is invited to view the students' presentations from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and participate in free activities related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in COTC's Ariel Hall at 236 S. Main St. and MVNU's Hunter Hall at 221 S. Main St. in Mount Vernon.​

The participating teams will be judged by a panel of industry experts for unique prizes. Awards include a glass-blown trophy handmade at the glass studio at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology; a $1,000 scholarship to attend COTC; a $1,000 scholarship to attend MVNU; and VIP admission to Kenyon College's Summer Science specialized educational experience.

"The general public will enjoy seeing the competition and innovation of students," said Whit Tussing, interim dean and professor of engineering technology at COTC. "Beyond that, it's a great opportunity to experience the educational facilities in Knox County. We will have hands-on STEM exercises oriented toward kids, and COTC will be doing demonstrations with its 3-D printer."

SPI Spot Discovery Space, 227 S. Main St., will be holding a free open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. appropriate for the whole family, including small children. The Knox Bots will demonstrate Lego robotics and the Knox County Eclipse Solar Balloon Project will talk about what it is and how to get involved. Siemens Corporation, a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis, will also be visiting.

In its second year, STEMfest!® Knox represents a notable partnership among Knox County's higher education institutions: COTC, Kenyon College and MVNU. Additional sponsors include SPI Spot and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology with generous support from Ariel Corporation, Griffin Insurance, Siemens, Brenneman Lumber Co., Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County, First-Knox National Bank, Knox Community Hospital, Mount Vernon Rotary Foundation and Consolidated Electric Cooperative.

Central Ohio Technical College is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs, as well as encouraging the professional development of students, staff, faculty and administrators to assist them in achieving their maximum potential.  COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.