Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pfeiffer receives $20,000 gift from Alcoa Foundation

The Alcoa Foundation recently awarded a $20,000 grant to Pfeiffer University to support a series of summer camps focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Dr. Laura Lowder, assistant professor of education; Nicole Wright, foundation coordinator, Alcoa Power Generating; Dr. Jerry Boone, president; Mark Gross, Hydro Operations Manager, Alcoa Power Generating; and Dr. Dane Fischer, professor of biology. 

Pfeiffer receives $20,000 gift from Alcoa Foundation
Grant will support summer camps focusing on STEM subjects

Pfeiffer University will host a series of summer camps focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) next year, thanks to a $20,000 grant provided by the Alcoa Foundation. 

“Pfeiffer University is grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for its longtime support of Pfeiffer students through annual scholarships and the direct funding of academic programs relevant to the local workforce,” said Carol May, Pfeiffer University’s director of institutional advancement. “Through these and this new gift for STEM summer camps, the Alcoa Foundation demonstrates its enduring commitment to strengthening the Stanly County community by addressing needs of today to assure readiness for the jobs of tomorrow.”

The Alcoa Foundation grant will support three STEM camps for students in elementary, middle and high school. The camps include:

STEM Into Summer (Grades K-5)
Young campers will explore STEM concepts using LEGOs WeDo and Simple Machines programs. This hands-on robotics experience provides a learning environment where teams of students work together to engineer solutions to problems.

Planting the Seeds of STEM (Grades 6-8)
This camp focuses on inquiry-based experiments using plants as a model system. Campers will include plant tours of the Pfeiffer campus and discussion of how various plant species have evolved to share the forest and urban ecosystem. The camp may include microscopic analysis of plant cells and/or extraction and analysis of plant DNA.

A STEM Career: It’s in Your DNA (Grades 9-12)
This camp for high school students will feature laboratory training and interactive exercises that promote collaborative, interactive and engaged learning while inspiring students to pursue STEM careers related to DNA science. Pfeiffer student will work with campers to perform hands-on, interactive activities that are not typically carried out in high school labs due to a lack of resources and expertise. STEM careers such as forensic science, pharmaceuticals, medicine, cancer biology, and biotechnology will be highlighted.

“The Alcoa Foundation is dedicated to supporting education and encouraging schools to provide STEM learning opportunities for students,” said Nicole Wright, who manages Alcoa’s community grants in North Carolina. “We’re thrilled to support the work that Pfeiffer is doing to engage a wide range of North Carolina students in STEM learning.”

According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career — and only about half of those who pursue a college major in a STEM field choose to work in a related career. Currently, the U.S. is ranked 25th globally in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations.

“Competence in math and science is essential for employment in medicine, biotechnology, computer science and information technology, pharmaceuticals and forensic science — fields that will drive the 21st century,” said Dr. Dane Fisher, professor of biology, who will design and direct the STEM camps with Dr. Laura Lowder, assistant professor of education. “Pfeiffer University is very grateful to the Alcoa Foundation for recognizing this critical need and making it possible for Stanly County students to participate in an educational summer experience that could potentially set the course for their futures.”

For more information about the camps, contact: dane.fisher@pfeiffer.edu or laura.lowder@pfeiffer.edu.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Alcoa presents $15,000 donation to Stanly County Family YMCA

Alcoa continues to demonstrate its commitment to the Stanly County community with a $15,000 contribution to the Stanly County Family YMCA. The funds will support three signature programs that teach children to swim, provide meals to the hungry, and raise awareness about sexual abuse.

“The Y strives to make a difference every day across our community through our Signature Outreach Programs,” said George Crooker, CEO of the Stanly County Family YMCA.  “With this very generous gift from Alcoa, we can continue to meet the needs of others and help make Stanly County a healthier and safer place for all.” 

Alcoa’s contribution will support the following programs:

·       Second Grade Learn to Swim: This program provides five weeks of swimming instruction to more than 450 second graders at eight elementary schools across Stanly County. The program is designed to reduce the risk of drowning and aligns closely with Alcoa’s ongoing efforts to promote water safety.

·       The Sunday Lunch Program: This program makes a difference with a simple plate of food. The Y coordinates and serves hot meals on Sundays and holidays at the Community Table in Albemarle. In 2013, over 5,500 meals were served.

·       Darkness to Light: This program raises awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse. A partnership between the Y, United Way of Stanly County, Stanly County Schools, Albemarle Police Department, The Butterfly House, and the Stanly County Health Department, Darkness to Light hopes to reduce the rate of childhood sexual abuse in Stanly County by educating 2,000 adults over the next five years.

"Alcoa is proud to partner with the Stanly County Family YMCA to support their outstanding work in our community.  Our donation will help teach nearly 500 young children to swim, provide meals to more than 5,500 individuals in need of food, as well as increase awareness and reduce the rate of sexual abuse across Stanly County,” said Nicole Wright of Alcoa. “Alcoa is honored to partner with the YMCA in these outreach programs, which are such an asset to our community.”  

Alcoa has a long history of support community programs in Stanly County. Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation have contributed more than $4 million to worthwhile programs in the Yadkin region. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Help us name the osprey chick at Badin Lake

We've launched an online contest so you can help us chose a name for the osprey chick that hatched at Badin Lake earlier this month. The contest features four names -- Hope, Lucky, Marvel and Miracle -- submitted by faithful followers of Alcoa's OspreyCam. 

The names reflect the unexpected arrival of the chick, which followed weeks of anxious waiting and came after many people feared the egg wouldn't hatch.

You can vote for their favorite name at www.alcoa.com/ospreycam through Sunday, June 22.

With nearly 2,500 votes already cast today, it looks like it's going to be a tight race between Lucky and Miracle.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

OspreyCam Update: A Chick Has Hatched!

We received a pleasant surprise this week when the OspreyCam at Badin Lake captured the arrival of a new chick. We'll be launching a naming contest in the coming weeks to give our newest osprey chick a proper name.

The chick's arrival followed weeks of anxious waiting. Osprey chicks typically hatch in late April or early May, but this one was a late arriver. 

Stay tuned to the OspreyCam over the next two months to watch the parents feed and care for the new chick as it grows and prepares to take flight. Osprey chicks usually fledge — or leave the nest for their first flight — after 6 to 8 weeks. For this chick, that will likely take place in late July. 

Visitors can follow updates through the website and join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #AlcoaOspreyCam.

Alcoa Hosts Water Safety Event, Life Jacket Giveaway at Badin and High Rock lakes on Saturday, June 7

Alcoa is kicking off the summer with events at Badin and High Rock lakes on Saturday, June 7 to promote water safety. The events will be held at the Flat Swamp / Pebble Beach Swim Area on High Rock Lake and at the Badin Swim Area on Badin Lake from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Alcoa will be providing free life jackets to 100 children at lake. You can enjoy free snow cones, play family-friendly games and meet some popular children’s characters. Representatives from NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and local law enforcement officials will be there to discuss water safety tips and show off the boats used to patrol the lakes and rescue those in need.

“This is a great opportunity for families to learn the simple things they can do to stay safe when they visit the lakes, and pick up a free life jacket if they don’t have one,” said Karen Baldwin, a natural resources manager for APGI who spearheads the company’s water safety efforts. “But staying safe requires much more than simply having a life jacket in your boat. You have to put it on.” 

Representatives from NC Wildlife Resources Commission, the US Coast Guard Auxiliary and local law enforcement officials will be there to discuss water safety tips and show off the boats used to patrol the lakes and rescue those in need. 

Providing free life jackets is one of several ways that Alcoa works with law enforcement agencies to promote water safety. The company also provides financial support to local sheriff departments for increased patrols of the lakes and sponsors an advertising campaign to remind people to “Put It On.” 

This is the 10th consecutive year that Alcoa Power Generating Inc. has sponsored a water safety campaign at the lakes.