On Thursday night in the GRHS Technology Center, one of the school’s most prestigious organizations welcomed nine new members.

Powerful Opportunities for Women Eager and Ready for Science, Engineering and Technology, or POWER SET, is in its second year of existence. It’s a partnership between GRHS, Nuclear Power Institute, Texas A&M’s Engineering Experiment Station and Luminant. POWER SET provides educational tools and support to junior and senior girls in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Each inductee has earned “commended performance” in either math or science on the TAKS test, has maintained at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA and is currently enrolled in at least two dual credit pre-AP or AP courses. Members have the opportunity to visit various industry sites, as well as college campuses, with a specific focus on engineering, math and science departments. They will also be mentored by professionals from Comanche Peak, hear from guest speakers and mentor fifth graders at Glen Rose Intermediate.

After returning member Jacqui Condy thanked the GRISD School Board members for their support and those involved from Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, GRHS principal Tommy Corcoran addressed the crowd and credited “some incredibly talented young ladies”.

Leader of the pack

“We were the first (Texas) school to incorporate this program,” Corcoran said. “Granbury is following (our lead), so we’re on the cutting edge and we thought it was a great opportunity for our girls. These young ladies are the cream of the crop of Glen Rose High School because of their hard work. It’s an opportunity for us to expose them to some great things; these ladies will take some jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.”

Corcoran said the POWER SET group is a bit bigger this year, as just a few members graduated last spring, and many more will graduate in 2013.

“The people most responsible for getting the program started here were Ms. (Reci) Brooks and Doug Ogletree (of GRHS), as well as Valerie Segovia of Texas A&M,” he said. “They worked in cooperation with (Comanche Peak), and we’ve been partners with them for a long time on different activities. It just took off from there.”

The returning members are Condy, Abby Cole, Caitlin Fellers, Shelby Lacey, Kelsy Massey, Victoria Moore and Christine Sheets. The nine 2012-13 inductees are Jena Brannon, Dancy Cook, Kiffany Kelly, Maysen Mapes, Esmeralda Rodriguez, Shelby Rotan, Jordan Stewart, Miranda Willis and Sara Wisdom.

Maria Ayala, a 2012 GRHS grad and POWER SET member last year, is currently attending Tarleton and studying to become a physical therapist. She talked to the crowd about her POWER SET experience, encouraged new members to stick with it through times of uncertainty and said how grateful she is to have been a part of the program.

Returning member Moore explained why pearls are symbolic of POWER SET, essentially saying a pearl is a beautiful object created through adversity. Returning members then presented inductees with their own pearl necklaces.

Brooks, the POWER SET advisor at GRHS, said that as universities become more familiar with POWER SET, its members are in demand.

Lady Tigers wanted

“Universities have been very receptive to this program, because the girls are so highly qualified,” Brooks said. “Many schools aren’t familiar with this program yet, so the girls have to articulate what it’s about on their college applications. It’s been great to see (schools’ informed responses).”

While Brooks is there to help, she likes to see the young ladies take charge.

“We find out what they want to do, what fields they’re interested in and we arrange our visits accordingly,” she said. “Our first visit will be on Nov. 19 to TCU, and there are already plans for a number of other trips. Our officers lead the meetings and call the shots on our mentor program for fifth graders.”

GRISD Superintendent Wayne Rotan appreciates the hands-on experience members can gain.

“This partnership with Luminant has given our students tremendous mentorship, training and opportunities out in the engineering field,” Rotan said. “It brings some relevance to our curriculum and the girls can explore real-life settings with the skills they’ve learned. A parent whose daughter was in this program last year told me she had made great contacts in the A&M engineering department in a short time.”

Returning member Fellers spoke highly of the POWER SET experience.

“Going through it as a junior last year – it has helped me narrow down choices that I need to make now as a senior,” she said. “Because of POWER SET, I have a clearer vision of what careers suit me best and which ones I should pursue.”

Thursday inductee Kelly shared her new found excitement.

“It is a great honor for me because only a select few get nominated and even fewer get inducted,” she said. “To be one of the inductees is incredible, considering I didn’t even think I would get nominated. I look forward to a great year with POWER SET.”