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Rogers Explorers participate in activities at University of the Cumberlands


Dr. Jim Taylor, president of University of the Cumberlands, gives a gold coin to each Rogers Explorer during the June 10 graduation ceremony. UC hosted the Explorers during a three-day program that highlighted leadership, technology, entrepreneurship and community service.

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – A group of 80+ Rogers Explorers students from across Kentucky participated in science, physics and mathematics activities at University of the Cumberlands (UC) on June 8, 9 and 10.

The three day’s activities focus on mathematics, science and technology. The Explorers participated in a community service project and social activities, and had class sessions with three Cumberlands professors: Dr. James Manning, Professor of Physics; Dr. Renee Yetter, Associate Professor of Biology; and Mr. Jeffrey Schwarz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry.


Rogers Explorers students participate in “getting to know you” activities on the first day of the three-day program. The students were hosted by University of the Cumberlands June 8, 9 and 10.

“The professors were so willing to give of their time,” said Lauren Hayes, youth programs coordinator at The Center for Rural Development, located in Somerset, Ky.

The students also had the opportunity to participate in a video conference with NASA, where they talked to NASA’s Director of Distance Learning Damon Telley. Telley discussed the current space mission, Endeavour, the Kennedy Space Station and how much gas is used in the space craft.

The activities are designed to teach young people leadership, technology, entrepreneurship and community service.

“Our goal is to teach kids how to be a leader and impact their communities,” said Hayes. “We had a good response from the students…they said it was more laid-back than they thought it would be.”

At the end of the three days, the students participated in a graduation ceremony attended by their parents. Each student shared things they experienced and learned.

One student, Sarah Miles from Knox County, recounted her experience in Dr. Yetter’s science class. “Dr. Yetter asked us who didn’t enjoy science, and, I apologize to all you science teachers out there, but, I raised my hand. I learned that just because I don’t enjoy science doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it. Now I’m more enthusiastic about it.”

Each Explorer received a diploma representing the completion of the program, presented by Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center for Rural Development and Dr. Jim Taylor, president of UC. Taylor also gave each student a gold UC coin.

The Rogers Explorers program is an intensive three day, two night program focusing on developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship and community service. It is developed, coordinated and supervised by The Center for Rural Development in partnership with The University of the Cumberlands, Lindsey Wilson College and Eastern Kentucky University. Students from The Center’s 42-county service area may apply during their eighth grade year. If selected through a competitive process, they will attend the program in Williamsburg, Columbia or Richmond during the summer before their ninth grade year.

Located in Williamsburg, KY, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction, which currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major fields of study; nine pre-professional programs; nine graduate degrees, including two doctorates, a specialist, and six master’s degrees; certifications in education; and online programs.