Using STEM to launch her future
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In 8th grade, Sarah Rose faced a crossroad – go to Edmonds Woodway High School (EWHS) where all of her fellow classmates from Madrona were headed, or to MTHS? EWHS had the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, but MTHS was closer to where she lived. She heard about the STEM program at MTHS and thought, “why not?” since she said she’s always enjoyed science.
Her freshman year she took the Introduction to Engineering Design class with tech teacher Craig DeVine, her first-ever STEM class.
DeVine described her as “energetic, outgoing, fun, motivated, always moving [and] sharp.”
She was later faced with another tough choice – which STEM pathway to advance toward. Aerospace, Biotechnology and Computer Science were presented as options. She ended up taking the Principles of Engineering course, which lined her up for the Aerospace STEM Diploma.
However, Rose didn’t want to use Aerospace after high school, saying it just wasn’t her “thing.”
So, her senior year she took both Aerospace and Biotechnology courses.
“I really liked biology so I took Biotech, which I also don’t want to do [as my future career],” she explained.
Although Sarah didn’t find her passions to quite fit into the standards of the courses she took, they did benefit her, as they augmented her knowledge and experience, as well as provided a way to find what she truly enjoys.
“[The courses] gave me opportunities to try things out [and] helped me figure out that I want to be a sales engineer,” Rose said.
A sales engineer must know about the equipment, but also sell it and find what would be best for the customer. It incorporates all areas of STEM and involves more human interaction, which Rose said she is fond of.
In college, Rose plans to study Civil Engineering.
For her senior year, Rose had to take STEM English 12 as a final requirement to achieve a STEM diploma. For the class, students were to take on a project that they would work on for the rest of the school year. Rose partnered up with seniors Garrett Debner and Aaron Quach to work on making fluid flow lines around an airfoil shape visible in pictures. The group used fog and food dye to show the fluid flow over airfoils at different angles of attack and how that affected detachment. Airfoils are used in the wing structure of planes, so engineers need to know how the fluid is affected in order to make things aerodynamic.
According to DeVine, Rose found programs and learned how to use them to analyze fluid flow in a wind tunnel and a fluid tank.
The group received first place in Engineering Mechanics at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF) as well as a Special Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for $20 each and a scholarship of $8,000 each towards Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona. Rose said she learned a lot from the project, including how to quickly communicate in a group and work with everyone’s different ideas.
She’s also involved with Math Club and is in her second year of Rocketry Club. She said Rocketry helped her realize how to “mother” and lead others. This year Rose was the Rocketry Vice President and competed in a national competition for video production.
Like other teenagers, Rose dealt with many obstacles during her high school career. One particular to Rose was being a woman in classes of a predominantly male students. “People doubted me, then I doubted myself,” she said
Rose earned the Gold Award through Girl Scouts this year after 12 years of being a Scout. She said that some people think Scouting is “stupid,” but she doesn’t pay much attention to those comments.
“I don’t care what other people think of me. I’m unique, loud me. I’m weird,” she said.
Rose also said her loudness is a persona that most people wouldn’t expect to uncover in a person who likes to think about philosophical questions.
Feeling nostalgic about her high school experience, Rose said, “yesterday I was [a] freshman; I was scared to walk these halls —I didn’t know anyone. I felt so alone. Looking back, it was stupid. There’s gonna be someone who’ll like you.”
In addition to being a whiz in the STEM department, Rose earned a most improved player award on the MTHS volleyball C-team her freshman year. Despite showing talent and dedication in sports, she decided to focus on STEM.
Junior year is when Rose founded STEM Leadership, a club that she originally aimed to make outreach events more interesting for the kids, as well as giving student’s perspective on them. It also brought more awareness to the STEM department, according to DeVine.
“[I] found my voice in what I think is important [and I] could talk to teachers,” Rose said.
The club then developed a STEM camp that Rose had coined for incoming middle schoolers during the summer to promote MTHS’s STEM program.
“[Rose] thinks of things that others never thought of. It’s like she had a sixth sense. Not only would she think of these things, she’d go do ‘em,” DeVine said.
Rose also helped design the T-shirts as well as organizing, by planning events and the budget.
“I’m so proud of [the club],” she added.
She said it was a great experience for her because she got to have fun and teach kids, something she loves, and she said that it was a great environment because everyone helped out, volunteered and wanted to be there.
Over the summer, Rose plans on earning money through a non-STEM related temporary job. In the fall she will attend Washington State University where she will pursue her goal of studying civil engineering.
DeVine said he looks forward to hearing of her success in college.
“She will bring to the discussion a level of awareness that is uncommon in teenagers,” said DeVine.