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Event Honors K-12 Students for Educating Commuters

Public Artwork on Transit Buses Raises Awareness About Climate Change

Cool Science 2017
Juliet Scott, a seventh-grader from Holyoke, received honorable mention for her artwork in this year's Cool Science Contest.

05/08/2017

Media contacts:  Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or Nancy_Cicco@uml.edu and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or Christine_Gillette@uml.edu
                 
LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell today honored students in kindergarten through high school from across the state for their efforts to educate commuters about the effects of climate change. 

Through UMass Lowell’s Cool Science contest, students in elementary through high school create artwork that illustrates concepts behind climate science. The top six submissions are featured on posters in and on Lowell Regional Transit Authority buses, where they raise awareness about the issue among thousands of passengers and others daily.   

Cool Science is led by Jill Lohmeier, a professor in UMass Lowell’s College of Education; UMass Lowell Art and Design Prof. Stephen Mishol; and Prof. Bob Chen, director of UMass Boston’s School for the Environment. They are researching the program’s ability to educate people about climate science, both in and outside the classroom. 

“The students learn about the issue by creating these inspiring works. Then, by surveying bus riders, we’ve found that the art has been effective in getting commuters’ attention and in encouraging them to learn more about climate change as well,” Lohmeier said.  

Three hundred students from 34 Massachusetts schools and 50 communities submitted contest entries. 

“Now in its fifth year, the Cool Science program is engaging thousands of students and commuters in learning about Climate Change. This is a win-win project for everyone,” Chen said. 

The 22 Cool Science contest winners were honored alongside their parents and teachers during a ceremony at O’Leary Library Learning Commons on UMass Lowell’s South Campus. The students’ artwork was exhibited at the event and was featured in and on an LRTA bus parked outside the venue. Displayed on the side of the bus was an approximately 7-foot-by-3-foot display created by Keziah Belk, a fifth-grader at the Park Street School in Roslindale. 

“As an artist and teacher, it’s been really rewarding to see these students use images to engage and inform the public on such a broad scale,” Mishol said. “Again this year, we received some really great artwork. The pieces are incredibly diverse and a number of them are quite accomplished. These young artists continue to surprise and impress me with their skill as well as their level of engagement with the subject of climate change.”  

Assisting the professors in their research are Alanna Grondine of Dracut, a UMass Lowell civil engineering major, and Cool Science project manager Shanna Thompson, who also serves as manager of the college’s Center for Program Evaluation. 

Cool Science’s partners include the LRTA and ATA Outdoor, which donated advertising space on the bus fleet, and Stone Jetty Marketing & Design, which prepared the artwork for display. Cool Science was launched in 2012 with $32,000 in seed money from the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund, which supports faculty projects in the arts, humanities and social sciences that benefit the state’s economy and improve the quality of life. 

Along with Keziah Belk of Roslindale, first-place winners are:
  • Olivia Scorzella of Winthrop, a second-grader at the William P. Gorman Fort Banks Elementary School;
  • Grace Quinn of Norwell, an eighth-grader at Norwell Middle School;
  • Sonia Marnoto of North Andover, a seventh-grader at North Andover Middle School;
  • Erin Leydon of Lakeville, a junior at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School; 
  • Tyler Vo of Dedham, a sophomore at Dedham High School.
Runners-up are:
  • Samira Zeina of Roslindale, a fourth-grader at Park Street School;
  • Andre Dorritie of Medford, a fifth-grader at Brooks Elementary School;
  • Mary McKay of South Boston, an eighth-grader at St. Peter Academy;
  • Sofia Agyare of Warren, a seventh-grader at Tantasqua Junior High School;
  • Zachary Spinello of Dedham, a freshman at Dedham High School;  
  • Maegan Champagne of Acushnet, a sophomore at Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School.
Honorable mention went to:
  • Hannah Carey of Rehoboth, a fourth-grader at Palmer River Elementary School;
  • Cameron Marnoto of North Andover, a fourth-grader at Sargent School;
  • Dennis Johnson of Chelmsford, a sixth-grader at Parker Middle School;
  • Juliet Scott of Holyoke, a seventh-grader at Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School;
  • Lydia Cunningham, Nicole Morris, Julia Centola, Gianna Caprio and Patrick Harrington of Billerica, seniors at Billerica Memorial High School; 
  • Cassandra Mondazzi of Tyngsborough, a junior at Greater Lowell Technical High School.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,750 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu