Indiana Area Junior High School announces new Chief Science Officers

Indiana Area School District is excited to be a part of the recently launched ARIN Intermediate Unit 28’s Chief Science Officers Program for the 2023-2024 school year. Chief Science Officers (CSO’s) are students in 6th to 12th grade elected to serve as liaisons for STEM and innovation in their schools and community. 


Elizabeth Woods, the district’s K-12 Gifted Support Coordinator, first learned about the program at a Gifted Network meeting at ARIN and sought administrative approval to explore interest district-wide. After discussion at various levels, it was ultimately decided that it would be a great program to implement at the junior high school level. 


Mike Dolges and Scott Herrington, Indiana Area Junior High School’s technology education instructors, agreed to serve as the advisors. “We believe that there is an incredible opportunity to continue to build the STEM programming at the Junior High School and that the CSO program will help with this mission,” said Woods. 


Four students were selected for the program and recently attended the inaugural CSO Leadership Training Institute. The four students who were selected are a part of the Junior High School’s Combat Bots program and will create and work on a project during the upcoming school year that has a goal of furthering STEM instruction and opportunities in our community. 


 "As Chief Science Officers, our action plan includes creating a video advertisement for Indiana's Jr. High School Combat Bots program. My team and I will show this video to interested students, teachers, principals, superintendents, corporate sponsors, and community members. Through this video, we will be able to get more people to experience this ever-growing STEM opportunity,” said Rowan Woods, one of the newly chosen CSO’s. Xander Wheeler, another CSO, added that they hope to expand the visibility of the Combat Bot program and increase the number of schools and teams participating in the competition.