Western Wayne students learned about the physics, artistic qualities, and chemical properties of glass among many other things when the mobile glass studio based out of Keystone College visited on Thursday, Sept. 26 and Friday, Sept. 27. Approximately 678 middle and high school students viewed the mobile glass laboratory, and 49 students had the unique opportunity of taking part in an individual hands-on demonstration.
The mobile glass studio is the only one of its kind in the region and is sponsored by the Dorflinger Glass Museum and Keystone College. Funding for the mobile glass laboratory comes from donations to the Dorflinger Glass Museum by corporations under the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development EITC program. The companies get tax credits for donations that support innovative educational programs such as the glass studio.
The glass studio last visited Western Wayne in November of 2017 and the district was thrilled to host this experience for its students again. Mark Nebzydoski, high school science teacher at Western Wayne, played a key role in planning this event. He believes that Western Wayne science students greatly benefit from unique educational opportunities such as this.
“It’s meaningful for students to learn about glass through these visual and hands-on demonstrations,” Nebzydoski said. “They get to have an educational experience that they wouldn’t have anywhere else.”
Keystone faculty member Brandon Smith, an advanced glass instructor and studio technician from Factoryville, was one of the teachers from the college that led the Western Wayne students through their experience with the mobile glass lab.
Smith explained how this glass lab is a part of Keystone’s STEAM project and that he helped to build the lab with various students from different parts of the world.
“The main goal of this project is to present information to students,” Smith said. “We want to show kids that with a single material you can drive yourself into many different careers.”
Smith explained that students who study glass can go into fields such as museum archaeology, architecture, chemical laboratory work, laser technology work, and so many other areas.
Seniors Cooper Mistishin, Matt Rosengrant, and Max Phillips had the opportunity to learn from Smith and Michael Swanson, who teaches an introduction to glass course at Keystone College. The boys participated in the individual hands-on glass demonstrations.
Cooper was surprised at the intensity of the heat used to mold the glass.
“It was interesting to see the differences in the glass from when it was really hot to when it cooled,” Cooper explained. “When it was warm it looked like all of the glass was blended together and when it cooled you could see its shape better.”
Cooper, who plans to study computer science in college, was glad to have this experience and especially liked molding the glass.
His classmate Matt Rosengrant also had fun molding glass during the demonstration.
“I liked how hands on the demonstration was and how they allowed us to shape the glass,” Matt, who plans to study electrical construction after graduation, said.
Senior Max Phillips agreed that having this experience was particularly helpful for him as a student because of everything he was able to see and do.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Max, who plans to study computer science in college, said. “I enjoyed learning about the properties of glass and how it works.”
In addition, Keystone College admissions counselor Colin Dempsey admitted three Western Wayne students to Keystone during the glass blowing event at the school. He read their transcripts and gave them admissions letters on the spot.
Nebzydoski and the Western Wayne community are excited for the prospects of having the mobile glass lab return for future learning events at Western Wayne.
In the meantime, Keystone College invites the public to their Keystone College Glass Harvest Sale and Glass Pumpkin Patch event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on October 12 at their campus lawn. There will be live glass blowing at this event.