RESA 3 recently chose to hire a STEM specialist to consult with teachers in the counties covered in that RESA, which includes Putnam County.
"It's a new position, and it's something our RESA asked for," Daniel said. "He works with teachers within the RESA on STEM-related projects."
Putnam County also will hold a STEM fair this spring. Unlike its traditional science fairs, Daniel said the STEM fair would encourage more mathematics and technology-related projects on top of more traditional science projects.
Meanwhile, Putnam County Schools has introduced the JASON project at the middle-school level. The project, created through a partnership between the Sea Research Foundation Inc. and the National Geographic Society, provides multimedia curricular experiences, including reading selections, hands-on activities, videos and online games for students.
"There are career opportunities in those fields, and we want to try to provide the resources and the opportunity for our students so they will be well prepared when they go on [to] postsecondary [education]," Daniel said. "We want to provide lots of options and opportunities for them to explore."
According to Summers, students in West Virginia are capable of earning the degree they want and getting the job they want, as long as they look at the big picture.
"As a kid growing up in West Virginia, it's sometimes hard to see the big picture and what the opportunities are," he said. "It's very easy to take a $30,000-a-year job right out of high school, instead of paying a lot of money to go to college and get a degree where you can earn a lot more after you actually get the degree.
"It's more of a deferred payback. I think it's an obstacle a lot of people face -- taking the immediate job rather than being a poor college student for four years and, hopefully, having a better job when you come out the other side."
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5189.