Senior shares experience at Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences

Posted on October 25, 2016, in Events, Lancer Life


General McLane High School senior Joel Linebach attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences (PGSS), a highly competitive five-week, in-residence summer enrichment program at Carnegie Mellon University. He was one of 60 students chosen from over 500 applicants.

“For students who love to learn and love the sciences, this is an outlet to pursue that passion,” Linebach said.

PGSS is known for its intense program in which the students take lecture courses in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science. Some of Linebach’s courses included Biotechnology of HIV and AIDS, Computer Science, Discrete Mathematics, Organic Chemistry and programming. While in programming, Linebach said he learned how to program Tetris and Tic-Tac-Toe.

In addition, students participate in their choice of one laboratory course in either biology, chemistry, physics, or computer science and engage in team research projects in one of the above five major discipline areas. Linebach was part of a research project in Chemistry and dealt with super conductors and x-ray diffraction.

“What was really nice was that it was set up like you’re in college,” Linebach said. “One of the things that the Governor’s School really offers students it the opportunity to excel where high school can’t.”

For example, he said that at General McLane High School, he could take Organic Chemistry or Special Relativity as independent study. But at the Governor’s School, he had access to the labs and high-tech equipment that is only available on a college campus.

“This gives that experience to high school kids who love to learn and delve into this type of stuff, while also seeing them flourish.”

The students also have the opportunity to take elective courses, participate in several field trips and hear from distinguished guest lecture series. Some of this year’s speakers included a Nuclear Engineer, a Geologist, a Rocket Scientist, NASA Scientist and computer scientist.

The program is free for students selected to participate. Previously, the state funded the program but funding was cut in 2009. Now, program alumni and supporters have joined together to form “Save PGSS.”

Linebach is a member of the National Honor Society, Study Council, Marching Band, Cross County and Track teams and Evironthon teams. He is also the Drum Major for the band, serves as the JETS team captain and is a dance assistant at Miss Lucy’s Dancing School. He plans to focus in Bio-Chemistry after high school.

Linebach presented his experience to the General McLane School District Board of Directors at their October Monthly Meeting.