“Creating a 21st Century Science Department” is the name of Merrill’s winning program idea. Inspired by hearing the needs of the local oil, timber, and coal manufacturing plants, the updated science equipment will help students better compete in the workforce. Students will be able to read instructions, operate instruments that collect data, and evaluate the data produced for precision, accuracy and relevance. They also will need to critically analyze data and put it into reports that can be interpreted by physicians or managerial personnel. Students will use computers attached to probe sensors where the data collected can be put into graphs in Microsoft Excel and reports can be written in Microsoft Word. The goal is to have students design their own labs, collect and analyze data, run equipment, and write formal lab reports. By utilizing this updated technology, Merrill, who lives in Henderson, wants to provide her students with the necessary skills to ensure that they are employable in the industries in their home communities.