In the past three State of the Union addresses, President Barack Obama stressed that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in our nation’s high schools will prepare students for jobs in the high-tech economy of today and of the future. Made even more appealing by the predicted 8.55 million STEM jobs available in the U.S. by 2018, Obama’s plea is currently the centerpiece of many talks of educational reform.
To prepare for the demands of a full-fledged STEM curriculum, Bullis has made a series of STEM-related faculty additions. Four new teachers have been added to the Upper School math department, the science department has added two, and, for what would appear to be the first time in the school’s history, Bullis has hired a teacher exclusively lecturing in computer science. Furthermore, Ms. Darling, previously the math department chair, will now take on the directing role of STEM coordinator.
(For a full list of Bullis’ recent faculty additions, please visit http://www.bullis.org/news/article/index.aspx?pageaction=ViewSinglePublic&LinkID=1694&ModuleID=74)
This litany of new, highly qualified Upper School faculty enables the launch of exciting STEM trimester offerings in Electrical Engineering, Game Design, Robotics, and CAD Design in addition to a full-year AP Computer Science course. Also, students will receive hands-on research experience in the two-trimester Honors Molecular Biology course and in the STEM program’s most advanced offering - the yearlong Capstone Lab.
Moreover, this year marks the beginning of Bullis’ partnership with both the University of Maryland’s QUEST Honors Program and Millennium Engineering and Integration Company, co-founded by Bullis parent Kerry Wisnosky. Four Bullis seniors – Cody Branchaw, Qiaomei Li, Adam Cohen, and myself – will fulfill the internship component of their STEM and Entrepreneurship denotations by attending various seminars at UMD and working directly with QUEST teams on developing a solution to a problem with application to the Millennium Company’s operations.
The administration has interwoven STEM - the four-letter acronym at the core of national educational discourse – into the Bullis curriculum this year. Dynamic hiring of well-qualified science and math faculty has propelled the launch of various new STEM elective offerings as well as more intense, full-year research courses. With a structure now in place, Upper School students can enter the STEM Signature Program, gaining a 21st-century education that they can apply to tech-based disciplines in college and future job fields. And as members of the joint QUEST/Millennium Engineering internship and the school’s first-ever robotics competition team can already attest to, a Bullis STEM education will help students gain practical experience and discover novel passions.