“It brought such an awareness to these young ladies who are at the point where they’re starting to choose their pathways for their education and it was because of the content of the program that was presented, especially by our female astronaut [Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger],” Janet Queen, who serves as liaison between the Bartow County College and Career Academy and industry, said. “Because of her presentation, they were able to put in perspective why their math skills [should] be excellent because she relates some of the activities she performed while in space and how her mathematical skills played into that along with her technology skills.”
She continued, “It just brought an awareness to these young ladies about the importance of when choosing their pathways what to choose. She talked with them about studying biology in high school and how some of the things that she learned applied while she was in space. Her whole presentation was just great; I enjoyed it so much and the girls did as well.
“The thing that really impressed me was the classes were small and the girls were able to ask her questions. They asked her ‘when did you decide to be an astronaut’ and all these things that help them as they’re choosing their pathways about what their career is going to look like in four years when they walk across that stage and get their diploma.”
BCCCA CEO Paul Sabin said the event corresponds with the school system’s goals to expand STEM offerings to its students.
“We’re working on a STEM pathway for middle school students ... while in middle school and then come here to the college and career academy in our engineering department and work with our teacher there. We are also working with several of our high schools to develop pathways with STEM,” Sabin said. “Science, technology, engineering and math are high-demand areas and each of our schools is working in each of those areas to try to build up both the rigor and also the performance of our students in those areas.”
Student Morgan Hughes, an honors student at CMS, said her experience at the event allowed her to try new things while also learning real-world applications of STEM.
“You’re going to a different school, it’s a different environment, and they kind of take different skills and they put them in a classroom. It’s just really cool to get to work on something that you don’t normally work on,” Hughes said. “First we went to this astronaut program where [Metcalf-Lindenberger] talked about her experience in space and that was very interesting. Then I went to a class called ‘It’s Bugged’ and we built an environment for a milkweed bug, and it was really interesting because I kind of went out of my comfort zone and I don’t really like bugs. And it was kind of cool because we normally do that here [at CMS].”
Hughes said she is excited about moving on to Cass High School and taking various courses associated with STEM.
“Our counselors have worked with us and they helped us select different electives and career pathways and it was really cool to see all the things the high school offers,” Hughes said. “I’m very interested in the health care program that they offer because they have a huge selection of classes and it’s cool to see which ones you can take.”
Classmate Emily Long said she enjoyed being introduced to new activities through the event.
“We went to a class where we got to build a boat out of a paper plate and magnets and a battery and cable wires, and it was very interesting to use all of those things that you normally don’t use at school,” Long said. “I thought it was very influential because [it] allowed people to find their true potential and actually utilize that to do new and different things.”
Long said she is interested in the forensic science and health care offerings at CHS.