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ON Semiconductor Supports University Research Program in Pennsylvania

Written by: Candaice Robetoy, ON Semiconductor CSR Intern

Published 03-11-20

Submitted by onsemi

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) occupations are not only near and dear to our hearts; they are also expected to rise at least 10% over the next decade.  This is hardly shocking news considering they permeate every aspect of our daily lives from medical research and infrastructure improvements to the communication device you’re probably reading this article on.  At ON Semiconductor, we are proud of our diverse and robust giving program led by the ON Semiconductor giving program. But even more so, we value and appreciate the eagerness children display when they participate in hands-on, real world applied learning exercises.  We champion research and scientific discovery for all ages and we, quite literally, put our money where our mouth is.  

ON Semiconductor is elated to partner with Misericordia University to help fund water quality and biodiversity research programs.  Misericordia University is a private, liberal arts institution, with a focus area in STEM education, located in Dallas, Pennsylvania.  In 2018, the University partnered with Lehman Sanctuary, a 17-acre property that engages and educates students and the community with nature, to create the “Language of Water: A Forest to Classroom First'' program.  The program provides the opportunity for primary, secondary and higher education students to study and understand water quality, the impact it has on organisms and ecosystems, the critical importance of wetlands, the necessity of wetland conservation, and how environmental scientists measure the health of wetlands ecosystems.  Misericordia University and Lehman Sanctuary recently won a NEPA Environmental Partners Award for their “The Language of Water '' project.

The Lehman Sanctuary property houses diverse habitats and is located on the ecologically essential Harveys Creek watershed.  The property is described as “undisturbed wild” featuring a rare forested wetland overlooking a unique heron rookery nesting habitat, an older growth forest with enormous 100+ year old Oaks and Hemlocks,  vernal pools, spring seeps, and streams filled with rare amphibians, like the Northern Spring Salamander, Northern Two-lined Salamander and the 3 Toed Salamander.  The pristine land at Lehman Sanctuary boasts such superior water quality that the university installed a remote monitoring system to serve as a baseline for testing to be done in other parts of the state.  The grant from ON Semiconductor helped Misericordia purchase the YSI ProDSS Multiparameter water quality meter and other necessary equipment to expand the STEM-based opportunity that brings together college, elementary, middle and high school students from around the state.  Additionally, Misericordia allocated a portion of the grant funding to purchase 3 microscopes they then donated to a local STEM academy.  

“I never could have imagined that this many species resided within our area; I always thought this area was kind of boring and devoid of “cool” creatures. This visit showed me that a lot of people around here do not know about the level of diversity that exists in our forests and wetlands.  It humbled me to visit the sanctuary and experience just a fraction of the species that make up the sanctuary.” Michelle Ash, class of 2019 

The students study local rivers, lakes and streams, measuring the physical and chemical properties of the water, to increase awareness on the importance of water quality.  Each student gets the opportunity to use sophisticated testing equipment and gain valuable experience analyzing the data to understand the impact of location, time of year and human activity on water quality.  

“The vastness of the sanctuary was overwhelming in a positive way. This trip made it clear that we can all be the ones that are doing something to help this earth. I realized that we need to be advocates, not just doing what we can individually, but encouraging others to do good by the earth as well. The take-away from this trip is that we need to keep beautiful places like this around for us and generations to come. We all need time with trees every now and again.” Blyssalyn Bieber, December 2018 grad

The university was recently contacted by a local homeowners association who has asked that the program bring students to collect samples from their neighborhood lake.  The association is asking that the students help them better understand their issues and are optimistic the research will offer long-term solutions.  Misericordia University will offer four high school students from Wilkes-Barre STEM academy the opportunity to participate in a one-week research internship experience during summer 2021 following facility renovations.  

ON Semiconductor is proud to partner with STEAM based educational programs and looks forward to diligently supporting these programs in the communities in which we operate well into the future. 

To learn more about our global impact and our commitment to giving back, please visit the ON Semiconductor Foundation page.  

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