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July 14, 1999

Media Contact:
Robin McDaniel
(606) 677-6000

Internationally acclaimed Kilby Laureates interact as Role Models with Appalachian youth

View photographs of the event.

Somerset, KY - Renowned scientists, economists, and technology innovators are sharing their time and talents with young people in a cross-country partnership between the Kilby Awards Foundation and The Center for Rural Development. The Foundation has teamed up with Rogers Scholars, a project of The Center, which offers training opportunities to high school juniors from the Appalachian region of Kentucky. During the intensive one-week sessions, forty-eight students will take classes in leadership, engineering, computer networking, video production, web page development, and small business skills.

The Center's joint venture with the Kilby Awards Foundation will provide these young people with unheard of opportunities. The Kilby Awards Foundation was created as a tribute to Jack St. Clair Kilby, acknowledged as one of the 20th Century's most important inventors. Kilby created the monolithic integrated circuit, commonly referred to as the "microchip." This breakthrough made possible the sophisticated high-speed computers and large-capacity memories of today's information age.

Each year Kilby Award Laureates are recognized for imaginative contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education. The Foundation's mission is to provide these extraordinary Laureates as role models for future generations of leaders. Rogers Scholars will have the unique opportunity to meet Laureates and hear about the personal challenges and triumphs they have experienced.

"We are delighted to partner with The Center for Rural Development in its outstanding Rogers Scholars program," says Victoria Downing, Kilby Awards Foundation Chairperson. "Our Kilby Laureates will inspire and be inspired by these young people, who are the hope of our future."

Several past Kilby Awards recipients will address this year's Scholars. These include international virologist Dr. Karl M. Johnson who fights the world's most dreaded diseases, including Ebola. Johnson impacted the world of science when he brought in the use of space suites as protective clothing for scientists and technicians dealing with highly dangerous contagions.

Dr. Francine Penny Patterson will also visit with Scholars. For twenty-five years Patterson has studied the linguistic abilities of primates. Her most famous student, Koko, a great ape, has a vocabulary of more than 1000 words to communicate her wants, needs and feelings. The teaching methods Dr. Patterson has developed have exciting and promising applications for reaching autistic children and other people who have difficulty communicating.

Several other speakers will visit the Scholars, including the Foundation's namesake, Jack St. Clair Kilby, who will join them via videoconference from Dallas.

The other distinguished Kilby Laureates to participate include Dr. Susan Athey, Associate Professor of Economics at MIT, Dr. Mark Reed, Chairman of Electrical Engineering at Yale University, Marc Hannah, Co-founder of Silicon Graphics (SGI), and Mike McCue, CEO and Co-founder of Tellme.

"This partnership with the Kilby Awards Foundation is a wonderful opportunity for our Rogers Scholars," says Center executive director and CEO Hilda Gay Legg. "We are so pleased to be able to bring these internationally recognized leaders into personal contact with the young people of our region."

Being chosen for Rogers Scholars involves a highly competitive process. Scholars must have 3.5 grade point averages or above and complete an essay entitled," How telecommunications will affect rural Kentucky in the year 2025." Showing active participation in the community is also a requirement.

Summer sessions are held at The Center, located in Somerset, Kentucky. The Center for Rural Development, which stands as a national model, is a non-profit organization providing a competitive advantage and functioning as a catalyst for the economic advancement of a forty-county region of Southern and Eastern Kentucky.

View photographs of the event.

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