CTY and HBCU Team Up to Grow Students' Knowledge of Green Energy and Agriculture
As students returned to school after summer break, they likely discussed what they did you over the summer. While some worked, completed internships or vacationed with family, others participated in the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s (CTY) On-Campus Summer Programs.
For two sessions lasting up to three weeks, youth grades 2-12 visited a day or residential site in the United States to expand their knowledge and explore new topics with other students who share their love of learning. Many students took part in math, reading, writing, science, world languages and engineering courses, but students at CTY’s site at Virginia State University (VSU), a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Petersburg, had an opportunity to attend a signature speaker series that focused on an increasingly important topic: our shared earth.
“The series comprised scientists who work in the environmental field,” said Anthony Washington, deputy director of curriculum and student life for on-campus programs. “It was created to expose students to professionals who discussed advanced concepts related to solar power, decarbonization and electrification of buildings, and heat mapping in urban centers in and around central Virginia.”
One session, hosted by Virginia State University Professor Dr. Githinji, focused on teaching students about the principles and practices of Sustainable and Urban Agriculture, including raised bed gardening, container gardening, high tunnel, and greenhouse production, as well as hydroponic and aquaponic production systems. As part of the course, Dr. Githinji gave students a tour of VSU’s Randolph Farm while discussing his work and how it connects to the topics students learned in class.
“The students learned a lot,” said Kelsey O’Hearn, zoology instructor at VSU. “They asked a lot of questions about what the speakers studied in college and the paths they took post grad to land the careers they have today.”
Washington hopes to expand the Speaker Series and incorporate environmental topics into future course offerings.
“The expansion will create lasting partnerships between CTY and subject matter experts, introduce students to a college environment, create career pipelines for students to our industry partners, provide students with an understanding of diverse perspectives and give them the desire to make change in their communities,” Washington said. “We also hope it will continue to further our goal of diversifying our students, faculty, and staff in summer programs.”