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Future appears to be bright in higher education

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Moving Forward/by Superintendent Keith Davis

 In this month’s Lane Report, there is a special section titled, Research Kentucky 2014.  If you are interested in looking at it yourself, it can be found digitally at www.lanereport.com.   

The section highlights several institutions of higher education and the work they are doing with important research initiatives.  

Northern Kentucky University has a gene mutation lab where researchers are working on finding cures for cancer.  Their undergraduate students are key to this research and these students are being prepared for medical degrees or post-graduate work in neuroscience research.  

Others NKU students are working with physics professors to launch weather balloons in the Antarctic.  

At the University of Louisville, the Speed School of Engineering has a rapid prototyping center that uses 3-D printing in projects ranging from developing dental implants to jet engines.  

Other U of L students are working in the Computer Vision and Image Processing Laboratory to develop facial recognition software to help protect us against terrorist attacks, others are working on groundbreaking research in the study of Autism, and still others are assisting in research in high energy physics.  

At Western Kentucky University students are helping to develop flexible solar panels and improved weather forecasting systems.  

At the University of Kentucky, students working in the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging conduct research that may help address the serious problems arising during old age, such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

These examples are just a small number of programs at a few of our in-state public universities. 

There are many, many more at the other colleges and universities here in Kentucky, not to mention opportunities outside our state. 

I mention them because we need to be aware of the endless possibilities for doing good in the world that are available to our Bullitt County children if we make sure they are properly prepared to take advantage of them.

All of the examples I listed require strong math and science skills. 

We must continue to push upward the level of our STEM curriculum from elementary all the way through high school and in dual-credit college courses. 

However, it can’t just be math and science.  To help our students be successful, we must also continue to develop strong communication skills and encourage creativity throughout the curriculum. 

We are not just preparing workers, we are preparing problem solvers and leaders for this country’s future.  

I ask everyone, regardless of their own station in life, to encourage our kids to reach for far more and help expose them to what is out there waiting for them in the wider world.  

We are well-positioned, in a geographic sense, to develop a highly skilled entrepreneurial work force that can tap into Louisville Metro area resources and bring high-tech, high-skill jobs right to our own community, where they can raise their own families close to their grandparents.