EAST students showcase projects to community and recruit new students

EAST students showcase projects to community and recruit new students
Posted on 02/23/2018
Students in Northeast Tech’s EAST Program learn project management skills by taking on community service projects. Once such project involved helping the SafeNet Services organization with its Painted Rock Project to raise awareness of domestic abuse. The Environmental and Spatial Technology program, better known by its acronym – EAST® – may have one of the longest names of all Northeast Tech’s programs, but Instructor Brook Easton can sum up the program in two words: project management.

“Project management is at the core of every assignment my students take on as part of the EAST Program,” said Easton. “This is not your typical bookwork and benchmarks class. If you walk into the EAST classroom, you’ll see students involved in all sorts of projects that engage their creativity and problem-solving skills in hands-on ways.”

EAST® is an educational program that combines self-direction, teamwork, service and cutting-edge technology in a manner that helps students develop their own interests and aptitudes in a positive environment. At the core of the EAST program is a dedication to service – students work in teams that tackle self-selected community service projects.

“In addition to project management, community service is the other pillar on which our program is built,” Easton said. “With any assignment, students must identify a need within the community and then work to creatively meet that need.”

Zach Abbott, EAST student from Chelsea, is currently working on an EAST Tech Camp design for junior high students to attend a four-day camp in May.

“I chose this project because I’d like to teach younger students what I am learning here. In order to teach the students, the things I know, I have to learn everything myself first,” Abbott said. “I perceived this as a need, because it can encourage students to attend EAST in the future.”

Students typically work in teams – although some projects are completed by only one student – and the projects nearly always require the students to interact with a client or clients.

“My client is Robert Gibbs, the educational director of the RSU Nature Reserve,” said Verdigris student Thomas Layton. “It is definitely a new concept to me that I have to work to please a client, but I am happy that this is the way it is, because this can be very helpful in knowing what to expect from clients in the future when we get real jobs.”

Some of the other student projects currently in progress include creating a book to raise awareness of domestic violence, collaborating with the JM Davis Museum to design exhibits, and developing a stop-motion video of the Port of Catoosa Lock and Dam System. And these are just some of the projects that will be on display for the community to experience at the upcoming EAST Night Out event on March 6.

“EAST Night Out is one of the ways we increase the community’s awareness of our projects,” said Easton said. “The event lets future students and their parents know more about what EAST has to offer if their son or daughter would like to enroll in the program, and it’s also a way for business owners to see what projects we’re capable of undertaking.”

This year’s annual EAST Night Out will take place on March 6 from 4-6 p.m. at the Northeast Tech Claremore Campus. The event includes snacks, beverages and new information about the various projects taking place in the EAST program.

“Anyone can attend EAST Night Out, but it would be especially beneficial for three groups: students, parents and business owners,” Easton said. “Future EAST students and their parents can talk to current EAST students and instructors to learn more about this unique program and how it can guide their future. Business owners will benefit by learning what sorts of projects our students are able to handle. Numerous local businesses receive thousands of dollars’ worth of work for free, and students gain real-world experience - it’s a win-win partnership.”

The EAST Program is located on the Northeast Tech Claremore Campus, and enrollment is open to all Rogers County High School junior and senior students. For more information, visit www.eastinitiative.org or call 918-342-8066. EAST Night Out will be held at Northeast Tech’s Claremore Campus on March 6, from 4-6 p.m.
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