Learning More About the STEM Diploma

Kyle Deviney and Sam Posner are set to walk away at graduation this year with a little something extra. Besides completing the twenty or more classes that St. Luke’s requires as a graduating minimum, Sam Posner and Kyle Deviney have earned the symbol of the STEM diploma, an optional degree that caters to students who wish to further their breadth of knowledge in scientific fields.”The STEM Diploma is pretty different than the Global Scholars class” says Mr. Kress, a faculty overseer of the program, “The students trying for the STEM diploma do not need to answer any questions, or essays, or even interviews. There is, however, a mandatory independent study during the participating students’ senior year.” The STEM Diploma has a rigorous requirement sheet, proving to be a difficult task even for the most competent student. The requirements are as follows:

1. Four years of Math

2. Four years of Science, including Introduction to Engineering

3.Introduction to Computer Science and one semester of either Introduction to Robotics or Introductions to Java Programming

4.Completion of Advanced Placement courses in two out of the following three STEM disciplines: Calculus (AB and/or BC), AP Computer Science, AP Science (Physics, Biology, and/or Chemistry)

5. In the senior year, a yearlong research project in a STEM-related field.

Indeed, Kyle Deviney and Sam Posner have been working tirelessly on this challenging task. Kyle has combined his interest in technical theatre and the STEM academics to decide on an interesting topic for his independent study. His goal, with the guidance of Mr. Mitchell, is to create the most productive, organized, and efficient St. Luke’s tech room possible. “I’ve split up my independent study into four sections – one for each quarter – of the year.” says Kyle during an interview just outside the working progress itself. “The first course of action, for me, was to do as much research as I could. I called and visited 14 colleges to talk to various professors and theater set consultants about the tech rooms of those specific schools. I even visited some work areas of carpenters and professional scene contractors to hear how they optimize efficiency.” After this arduous process, the second section of his project was to create a sort of schematic layout of the future tech room. Now that this blueprint is complete, Kyle is working on his third and fourth quarter goals of firstly, deciding how to make the modifications and secondly, beginning to actually start the new design.

In the computer realm, Sam Posner has combined his passion for CPU systems with the advanced principles of software development. “The project I am doing for the STEM diploma is called ‘the Elements of Computing Systems'” said Sam during a recent interview, “which is basically a bottom up approach to learning how computer systems work, starting from Logic Gates and CPUs working up to the low level software all the way up to high level programming.” Indeed, Sam has been attempting to create a fully functional computer simulation through his own software. Through the process, Sam hopes to better understand the inner workings of a computer and its almost limitless possibilities with the guidance of Mr. Kress.

Come June, these two members of the Class of 2012 will be marked for their own desire for greater erudition. The STEM diploma is by no means a simple task, rather a several year experience that requires a student to go above and beyond what is expected of them.

-Tommy Champion, Staff Writer

Posted by on February 9, 2012. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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