Morehead State’s Craft Academy celebrates first-year successes

Staff Report

MOREHEAD – As the new school year gets underway across the Commonwealth, students of Morehead State’s Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics are celebrating their successes from the academy’s inaugural year.

Students in the Craft Academy’s first class, who are now starting their senior year of high school, have achieved in a number of areas, both as a group and individually. The students improved their ACT scores by two-to-five points during the last school year. Five Craft Academy students are National Merit semi-finalists and four students were chosen to participate in the Governor’s Scholars Program. One student served as an intern for Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and another was selected to attend NASA Space Camp.

One Craft Academy student placed seventh in the statewide Governor’s Cup Mathematics Competition and two students placed third in the Regional IDEA State U business competition. Two additional students are starting an e-textiles business after having their design skills displayed during a Rowan County Senior High School production of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Craft Academy students are learning both in the classroom and the real world as they assist MSU faculty members with a broad range of research projects. Two Craft Academy students who have been working with associate biology professor Dr. Michael Fultz with his research on smooth muscle tissue will have their exo-medical experiment sent to the International Space Station in late November. Two other students traveled to Mexico over the summer to help Dr. Timothy Hare, professor of anthropology, as he worked on an archaeological mapping project of an ancient Mayan ruin. The students used drone technology to help Hare map the ruins.

In addition, two more Craft Academy students participated in astronomical research at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. Thirty-eight Craft Academy students traveled to Germany and Switzerland over the summer for a study abroad program where they focused on renewable energy.

Dr. Carol Christian, director of the Craft Academy, said the success of students can be attributed to the hard work of the academy’s staff and the high level of motivation students have.

“I attribute their success to the systems we have in place. We monitor their progress regularly. We connect our student to tutorial resources. Students are assigned a mentor to keep an eye on them. We intervene at the point a student says they are having difficulty,” Christian said. “We have created a family-like culture of community. Students care about each other where they push and pull each other on the path toward success.”

Christian added Craft Academy students will continue to reap the benefits of their achievements throughout their academic careers and beyond.

“They are learning at an earlier age to be independent and problem-solvers to the issues they face. This entire experience gives them a jump start into a STEM career that will catapult them on the journey,” she said. “They are learning the importance of attention to detail. They are learning that intellect alone will not ‘sell a product.’ They are learning to market a product, present it, design it and make connections to multi-STEM areas that can help make what they imagine and invent come to fruition.”

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics provides Kentucky high school juniors and seniors who excel in STEM fields with the opportunity to attend college classes while they finish high school. Students accepted to the academy earn dual credit in college and high school while living on campus in a supervised atmosphere. The Craft Academy accepts 60 juniors each year and has a capacity of 120 students from across the Commonwealth.

To learn more about the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, visit

Staff Report


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