RUTGERS5_IMG_4014.jpgThe Payne Foundation funded The Donald M. Payne, Sr. Geoscience Scholars Summer Institute for 2015.  It consisted of 64 high school students recruited from Newark, NJ and the surrounding area. It was taught by four teachers from the Newark Public School system and nearby schools with assistance from four Rutgers-Newark and eight Essex County College student assistants from the Newark area as well.  The project was headed by Rutgers-Newark for college student recruitment and connecting participants with other enrichment opportunities. The summer institute was divided into 4 one-week modules on Energy, Mining, the Environment and Surface of the Earth. The students participated in eight field trips to nearby sites of geological interest, visits and lectures by industry professionals from ExxonMobil, Prudential, Tyco Industries, CitiGroup, PSE&G, NJIT and environmental companies; GEI Consultants, TRC Solutions, Langan Engineering, etc.) and an environmental research project on a local public park. The research included soil and water sampling located using a GPS, chemical analysis of the samples in a lab, and plotting of the data on a Geographic Information System (GIS) database using the program ArcMap. The Weequahic public park in Newark was studied this year.  The field trips included an oil refinery (Hess or ConocoPhillips), Great Falls hydroelectric plant, Iron Mine trail, a cave system, Sterling Hill zinc mine, a boat trip through the Hackensack Meadowlands estuary, a cave system or the geophysical piñata (locating a buried tube of candy using Ground Penetrating Radar) and the beach at the Jersey Shore.  The students performed exercises to support the modules.  The Payne Foundation will continue to support and develop a select group of students with future plans of introducing opportunities abroad.