Letcher County student Mason Salyers put his math and science skills to work this summer as he participated in and was graduated from The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Explorers summer youth program.
Salyers, a rising ninthgrader, received hands-on experience in math and science and developed leadership skills at a summer session of Rogers Explorers held July 21-23 on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in Richmond.
“The Rogers Explorers program focuses on developing skills in leadership, technology, entrepreneurship, and community service,” Jessica Melton, associate director of leadership and training for The Center, said. “Explorers worked to further enhance their math and science skills and develop their leadership potential as the region’s next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.”
At EKU, Rogers Explorers learned the value of good communication skills, effective leadership qualities, and even toured its aviation facilities. Explorers conducted takeoff s, maneuvers, and landings in a flight simulator used for training in EKU’s aviation program under the guidance of an instructor pilot.
“Many were able to land a plane the very first time they flew it,” C.J. Land, chief flight instructor and assistant professor at EKU’s aviation program, said. These students “were an outstanding group of young people that were able to see something they never thought existed so close to home.”
Drs. Jayne Violette, associate professor, and Jennifer Fairchild of EKU’s Department of Communications, worked with Explorers to improve their communication and leadership skills.
“You can be the smartest person in the room, but if you cannot express your views clearly, then it doesn’t matter how smart you are,” Fairchild said. “Explorers learned how good communication skills are connected to leadership and how all good leaders must communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.”
Rogers Explorers also participated in a live, interactive videoconference with NASA officials provided by The Center’s videoconferencing network and completed a community service project for the Richmond Ronald McDonald House.
Participants are selected from within The Center’s 42-county primary service area in southern and eastern Kentucky when they are in the eighth-grade in middle school.
Salyers, son of Kimberly Wright of Neon, attended Rogers Explorers as a representative of Fleming-Neon Elementary School.