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MSU Undergraduate Research Fellow and mentor recognized by Kentucky Senate

Justin Elswick, an Undergraduate Research Fellow at Morehead State University, and MSU Professor of Education Dr. Lesia Lennex were both invited by Senator Steve West (R-Paris) to be formally recognized by the Kentucky Senate for their outstanding efforts in workforce education.
In collaboration with Dr. April Reefer and the Morehead State University Center for Environmental Education, they presented a hydropower-focused engineering curriculum. Their research and production of water turbines included training students from grades 6-12 in SolidWorks CAD design, 3D printing hydropower turbines and testing designs toward improved energy production. Developing more proficient turbines and adjusting flow angle assisted students in solving realistic problems, such as improving energy output of gravity-fed hydropower.
“Justin (Elswick) has been helping to grow a pool of engineers in the state through his projects in hydropower,” Senator West said. “He is helping with our STEM problem. Basically, he’s helping getting kids get involved in STEM studies early and he’s really helping us and going to be helping us with workforce development in Kentucky.”
In addition to his formal recognition on the floor of the Kentucky Senate, Elswick and Dr. Lennex were visited by Senator Robin Webb (D-Grayson) during their presentation at this year’s Posters at the Capitol in Frankfort. Webb, who represents Elswick’s district, also posed for a Senate photo with Elswick, Lennex and Senator West at the Capitol.
Elswick and Lennex are both from MSU’s Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education. Lennex is an MSU Distinguished Researcher (2012) and College of Education Undergraduate Distinguished Researcher (2017). Elswick is a native of Ashland and a 2018 MSU Honors College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He's now pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching at MSU.
For more information on the Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, visit To learn more about MSU's Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education, visit

MSU student and faculty recognition on KY Senate floor from Morehead State University on Vimeo.