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St. Clairsville Girl Wins Science Fair With Drilling Project

Oil, Gas Industry Helping Educate Students

Photo Provided The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program recognizes East Richland Christian School student Kylie Gallagher with an award for her science fair project about well spacing and natural gas production.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE –After hearing her mom and dad talk about Marcellus and Utica shale drilling for a few years, East Richland Christian School seventh-grader Kylie Gallagher decided to do a science fair project about how the industry works.

Gallagher’s work explaining the concepts of well spacing and natural gas production proved good enough to claim an award from the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program during the Ohio Academy of Science’s State Science Day in May.

The soon-to-be eighth-grader scored a total of $600 during the science fair in Columbus, which featured more than 1,000 students from across the Buckeye State.

“There is a lot of oil and gas activity around here,” Gallagher said. “I wanted to do a project about something that’s current.”

Gallagher said her family has property bordering well sites.

“I think it is definitely interesting,” she said, adding that she used the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website for research. “It was fun to do.”

Program officials judge students on their scientific research, communication skills and outstanding work or knowledge about oil and natural gas in the areas of geology, engineering, chemistry, technology, microbiology, physics and environmental sciences.

“Each and every year, we continue to be amazed by these aspiring young scientists and award winners,” Rhonda Reda, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program’s executive director, said about the science fair. “The knowledge and demonstration of science, technology, engineering and math in their projects is so impressive.”

Gallagher said she has not yet thought about whether she would consider studying some form of energy engineering in college.

However, program coordinators are also recognizing college students pursuing careers in energy by presenting 50 of them with $1,000 scholarships that are renewable for up to four academic years.

“Students continue to show great interest careers in our industry, and we’re glad to help them pursue their dreams,” Frank Gonzalez, the group’s scholarship committee chairman, said. “It’s critical that our industry continue to support the next generation of workers who will help fulfill our local energy needs for years to come.”

A committee of oil and gas industry professionals volunteer their time to judge the students on career goals, essays, letters of recommendation, academic achievement, awards of special recognition, community service and other outside activities.

Local scholarship winners include:

∫ Jolyn Shunk of St. Clairsville, who is on her way to the Ohio State University;

∫ Damon Burghy of Bethesda, who will be a senior at Marietta College;

∫ Christopher Blackwell of St. Clairsville, who will also attend Marietta;

∫ Adam Stupak of Shadyside, who will be a senior at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio; and

∫ Sean Harlan of Steubenville, who will be a senior at Marietta.

“Ohio’s oil and gas industry considers it a privilege to recognize the best and brightest students our state has to offer,” organization Chairman Marty Miller said. “Two huge parts of OOGEEP’s mission are to encourage science education through programs like our science fair awards and to help individuals in their pursuit of oil and gas careers through scholarships. Our state is in good hands knowing these remarkable men and women are our future.”

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