Clarkson University School of Business graduate students have partnered with local middle school and high school students at Massena and Clifton-Fine Central Schools to solve real business problems – from researching additional uses for natural gas to improving tool-cleaning methods at Alcoa.
The collaborations are part of Clarkson’s School of Business Educational Partnership Program, which brings together K-12 students in a learning partnership with the business community and Clarkson graduate and undergraduate students. The pioneering program is designed to prepare students at all educational levels for a rapidly changing workplace by refining management, communication and technology skills.
“The partnerships give area students the opportunity to learn academic skills by developing solutions to real-world business problems,” said Karin Ulrich, partnership coordinator at Clarkson.
One group of Massena students is working with the New York Power Authority to find alternative ways to check the integrity of high-voltage equipment. “The students have already taken tours of the physical plant to learn about the technology. The kids are excited, and they learn very quickly,” said team leader and Clarkson MBA student Mark Bowman.
St. Lawrence Gas has teamed with Massena high school students to find additional uses for natural gas in North Country homes. “Some customers use natural gas for heating only,” said Matt Byrne, a Clarkson MBA student leading the team. “We are researching the cost-effectiveness of other applications that more customers might use like drying laundry, cooking, and heating water.”
Other Massena students are working with Alcoa and General Motors (GM). At GM, the lost foam process is clogging engine-making tools, and students are seeking ways to improve tool-cleaning methods. Students in partnership with Alcoa are trying to improve working conditions by ridding buildings of resident pigeons.
Clarkson MBA student John Byrne is helping Clifton-Fine eighth graders to develop teamwork and leadership skills. “Clifton-Fine has been a banner school for applied learning curricula, and we’re bringing real business skills from Clarkson to help students here set goals and work toward them,” said Byrne. “The kids have a great attitude, and it’s rewarding to see them grow.”
Last year, Clarkson’s Clifton-Fine School Partnership received the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Business/Education Partnership of the Year Award. The partnership challenged students to design a marketing campaign to foster tourism and economic development in the Clifton-Fine area.
The Clarkson Business/Educational Partnership Program is part of the University’s Shipley Center for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
Photo caption: Clarkson MBA students and Massena Central High School (MCHS) students work together to find alternative ways to check the integrity of high-voltage equipment for the New York Power Authority (NYPA). (left to right) NYPA Administrative Secretary Karen Singleton; Clarkson MBA student Sandra Eismann; MCHS students Sharlie McLean, Marcy Lannis, Jim Siddon, and Ashleigh Hall; MCHS teacher Ron Reid; and NYPA electrical engineer Jeff Long.