RIPLEY - Students at Ripley Elementary School, Ripley Middle School and Ripley High School are stepping outside the classroom and into an exhibit-on-wheels to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) when the Clay Center’s “Power Your Future” exhibit visits this week (September 26 through September 30). 

Using competitive video game-based software, this self-guided experience includes 10 different interactive stations for students to explore. This educational experience facilitates 21st century learning and strengthens skills in the STEM disciplines while also educating students on a topic that is relevant to every West Virginian – the exploration, production and use of natural gas. 

At the end of the exhibit experience, each student will be shown possible career choices based on the individual’s interests and abilities. By introducing students to careers in the energy industry, the exhibit encourages them to seek higher education in a STEM discipline and become part of a highly-skilled workforce that can allow them to remain in the region after college. 

Pre- and post-visit curricula covering a variety of energy-related topics, including both renewable and non-renewable energy resources, are provided to teachers to help them prepare their students for the topics covered in the exhibit and later reinforce those concepts in the classroom. The exhibit also tracks student performance in each activity, providing teachers with individualized feedback that helps them determine their students’ strengths and weaknesses. 

Housed in an expandable trailer that sets up in only 30 minutes, “Power Your Future” is available to travel to schools, libraries, senior centers, fairs, festivals and other community events across West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the greater region. Developed with middle school students in mind, the exhibit is also appropriate for upper elementary school grades, high school students and adults. To book a visit, contact the Clay Center at 304-561-3562. 

These visits to Ripley Elementary School, Ripley Middle School and Ripley High School are sponsored by the Dickirson Corporation. 

“We are delighted to partner with the Clay Center to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational opportunities to Ripley schools,” said David Dickirson, President of the Dickirson Corporation. ““Power Your Future” is beneficial in two important ways – It helps generate interest in STEM fields of study, and it helps students realize their potential in STEM-related careers, both of which are vital for West Virginia’s future.” 

“Power Your Future” was funded by an initial challenge grant from the Energy Corporation of America Foundation and later matched by the EQT Foundation, with supporting funding from XTO Energy. Additional funding from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Institute 

of Museum and Library Services, Hearst Foundation and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts was secured for supporting educational programming built around the exhibit. 

For more information on all Clay Center programs and exhibits, visit www.theclaycenter.org.