Academy of Our Lady in Marrero, an all-girls Catholic high school, offers the STEM program as part of the program of Academic Majors. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. A new addition to the STEM program at the academy is the robotics club.
STEM's coursework is specifically designed to prepare students for a future in science, technology and engineering. Students are required to take five units of science and math, computer technology and engineering courses. All of these subjects have special hands on focus, complemented by research and lectures, to build a strong foundational background for the student's future careers.
The engineering class is designed by the University of Texas and utilizes project-based learning.
The students are taught multiple ways to approach a problem in order to design a viable solution.
Academy of Our Lady senior Elizabeth Rousset said, "The class prepares you for a career in engineering by giving you a broad view of the different types of engineering. Throughout the class we make presentations on different jobs and products made by several different types of engineers.
"Some of the projects we have done include building a car powered by rubber bands, building a camera obscura from scratch and taking pictures with them, testing coffee to reach a specific conductivity, and building and testing an earthquake resistant building."
The technology aspect of STEM includes teaching iOS, Microsoft and computer operating systems. Some of the introductory courses are "Computer Technology Literacy" and "Business Computer Applications." These courses help students learn word processing, networking and file management.
The academy also offers "Computer Systems Networking.'' This course presents an in-depth exposure to computer hardware and operating systems.
Students learn the functionality of hardware and software components as well as suggested best practices in maintenance and safety issues. Through hands-on activities and labs, students learn how to assemble and configure a computer, install operating systems hardware and troubleshoot hardware and software problems. In addition, chapters on networks and communication skills are included. This course helps students prepare for Comp TIA's A+ certification.
In the newly formed robotics club, students explore how to build robots and the engineering techniques behind how the robot works. The club has recently completed their first robot. The robot can pick up objects and place them in other spots.
Rousset said, "The STEM classes helped me see what the engineering career would require and helped me realize if that is what I would really want to do with my life."
By: Kayla Scholl, Academy of Our Lady Junior