Monday, July 8, 2013

STEM program targets local high achievers

Bloomsburg University recently welcomed a group of top high school sophomores from Bloomsburg, Central Columbia and Berwick Area school districts to campus for their first taste of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Magnet program. Eighteen academically talented students were admitted for the program’s first year.

Students in the STEM Magnet program have enrolled together in five courses — two each during fall 2013 and spring 2014 and one during January 2014 — and earn a total of 15 credits. They will earn 15 additional credits during their second year in the program.

This summer the students are going through a short orientation, meeting some of the faculty, talking with a few college mentors and getting to know each other better through a series of Quest team-building exercises. The STEM program heads to the classroom and lab this fall.

The two-year program will focus on engineering, but also will give students interested in math or other sciences the tools needed to be successful in college. Classes will include Computer Science, Coding, Engineering Sampler, Engineering Seminar, Calculus I or II, Physics I, Physics II, Technical Writing, Economics and Ethics.

College graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are in great demand, but nearly half of students majoring in these fields fail to complete their degrees. Local superintendents have expressed a need for this type of program to help students prepare for the rigors of these majors and to meet the needs of local employers.

To be eligible, sophomores in Bloomsburg, Central Columbia and Berwick Area high schools must have taken Algebra I and II, Geometry and two years of science. They also must have a positive recommendation from their science or math teacher, at least a 95 percent attendance record and a commitment to enroll in the program for both their junior and senior years of high school. A panel reviewed all applications this past spring.

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