STEM program continues to grow at Terrace

By Daniil Oliferovskiy

Courses stressing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, the STEM Magnet Program puts students through rigorous and challenging courses to inspire students to pursue STEM related careers and prepare students for demanding college classes.
STEM, a new program rolled out this year, targets incoming freshman within the Edmonds School District. Students can engage in classes that offer hands on experience, advanced courses that include Aerospace Engineering, Biotechnology Engineering, and Computer Science classes.
In addition, students may receive a STEM Honors Diploma. Designed to prepare, engage, motivate, and inspire, Mountlake Terrace provides ambitious students with an amazing opportunity to get a head start in competitive and professional careers.
As well as rigorous classes, the STEM Magnet program correlates and parallels in teaching with the FIRST Robotics, Rocketry, and Technology Student Association (TSA). Students interact and work side-by-side with teachers and mentors that have a thorough experience and understanding of their fields.
Engineering teacher Dan Lafferty said, “I have a degree in electrical engineering and I spent about 25 years mostly doing software design.”
Not only are students able to interact with highly skilled teachers, but they can also take on projects with mentor engineers.
Currently there are 57 freshmen and 26 sophomores enrolled in STEM. There are about 102 incoming freshmen students that have registered for the program and BTMS registration for next year is not yet complete so the numbers could still grow.
Engineering teacher Craig DeVine, who has 15 years of engineering experience, said, “Students are really taking an interest in this and we see the numbers of students [growing]. This year, we’re 50 percent above last year at the ninth grade level, and so our courses are definitely growing.”
Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers focus on increasing the amount of students that register to the STEM program by targeting incoming freshman and increasing relationships and partnerships with middle schools.
“[BTMS] has a fabulous middle school program that is now being taught is called SciMaTech,” DeVine continued. “So at the middle school level we are seeing a high level curriculum that [does a] marvelous job of preparing students for the high school curriculum.”
Starting next school year, MTHS will give students a chance to earn a STEM Honors Diploma through a challenging set of classes that culminates in a STEM Capstone project. STEM is organized so freshmen and sophomores undergo prerequisite classes like Principles of Engineering (POE) and Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), then upperclassmen are able to take an advanced STEM Pathway Course.
Students can choose to take Aerospace Engineering, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, Biotechnology, AP Biology, Digital Electronics, or AP Computer Science, then reach the ultimatum during their senior year where they have to demonstrate their learning and abilities in the Capstone Senior Project, which is a year long class.
Students must research and design a product that benefits society or takes on problems with modern commercial products; a project that closely reflects real world engineering work.
Not only do students get hands on experience with real world engineering applications but teachers “try to provide the same opportunities for that same abstract thinking by actually building things where they try to utilize some of those math skills and problem solving skills in general,” Lafferty continued.
“That’s the whole push with engineering. Engineering is the art of designing and creating something and in that process you’ve got to use math and science. You can’t do it without it,” he said.