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PA Cyber students accepted into summer STEM camp

Jun 26, 2017

Two PA Cyber students will spend two weeks of their summer immersed in science, technology, and math at an academic STEM camp.

Benjamin Culp of Centerville and Elizabeth Krizmanich of Edinboro have been selected to participate in the all-expenses-paid Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)/Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) 2017 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

ORNL and ARC work collaboratively to provide the two-week, hands-on science program for students selected from the 13-state ARC Region. The camp runs July 8 through July 21.

Nominated by their chemistry teacher, Yvonne Shafer, both Ben and Elizabeth were selected based on their academic potential to excel in math and science.

Elizabeth, who enters 11th grade in the fall, was nominated because of her love for chemistry.

“It was not uncommon for Eli to stay after class and chat with me, or email with questions about content that was beyond the scope of our class—like quantum mechanics,” Shafer said. “Eli has a curiosity and fascination for science that I do not see in most students, so I thought that this program could do a lot in supporting her in her interests and possible future endeavors.”

Shafer nominated Ben, who enters the 12th grade this fall, because she felt he would use the opportunity to its fullest.

“Ben is one of the most dedicated, determined and focused students that I have ever had here at PA Cyber. He loves science — and learning in general — and attended class every week, even when he was not required to attend.  In fact, he completed our chemistry curriculum early and specifically asked me not to finalize his grade so that he could keep attending our live sessions. He is an amazing young man and I am so excited for him to have this opportunity,” said Shafer, who has been sending students to the program for 13 years and has personally had the chance to attend.

Ben said he enjoys science, but was surprised to be chosen. This will be his first trip away from his family, namely his fraternal twin brother, who also attends PA Cyber. Both siblings are on the autism spectrum, but Ben tends to be more bashful and quiet, said their mother Ima Culp.

“He’s a very hard worker, so for him to get recognized was really awesome,” Ima Culp said.  “To be nominated was a great honor, but then to actually get it was like, ‘wow.’ ”

Lodging, meals, and transportation are provided during the Summer Institute in Oak Ridge. Students have escorted flights and are chaperoned at all times by resident teachers, who have been associated with the Summer Institute for many years.

Opportunities are also built into the program for participants to work with mentors and learn more about the Appalachian region where they will stay.

“Our goal is for the students to have an opportunity to participate in ongoing ORNL research and in other cultural and educational activities.  At the end of the two weeks, each team of students will make a presentation about their ORNL research experience.  Parents and family are invited to attend these presentations on July 21,” Jennifer Tyrell, project manager at ARC/ORNL Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute.

Ben is the son of Ima and Craig Culp.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Thomas and Debbie Krizmanich.

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About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School (PA Cyber) is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber's online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and choices of curricula connect Pennsylvania students and their families with state-certified and highly-qualified teachers, and rich academic content that is aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment by any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and does not charge tuition to students or families.