By offering several disciplines for high school students to choose from, a STEM academy prepares students for future careers.
At Corona High in Corona, California, freshmen who are enrolled in the four year Biomedical Pathway analyze fingerprints and DNA samples to figure out why a fictitious person has died. They also look into previous medical history. Police officers and EMTs visit the class to help solve the mystery and offer practical advice.
“These kids are learning far more than regular ninth-graders,” said Coleen Holtz, who teaches Principles of Biomedical Study. Sbe taught traditional biology at Corona High before the academy’s opening. “Some of this stuff they wouldn’t get until college.”
According to Gina Boster, director of career and tech education for the Corona-Norco Unified School District, students need to remember that half of STEM careers do not require a four year degree, and some jobs such as lab techs and engineering assistants earn up to $60,000 a year.
“STEM separates you from the average person; you can say you had this experience before anyone else had it,” said Ethan Quatch, 14, who has plans to become a computer engineer. He has built a Mylar bridge and is currently designing isometric shapes for a 3D puzzle to be built later. He is one of 450 students enrolled who have come from four middle schools in Corona and Eastvale.