Chaminade Julienne was among ten schools in the region awarded grants for their work in STEM-focused programs for the coming school year. CJ STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math, and the second "M" at CJ represents medicine) will put its $35,000 share of the $285,000+ grant from the Dayton STEM Hub to work immediately, according to Meg Draeger, CJ STEMM coordinator.
"Winning this grant means that we are able to implement the complete sequence of courses required to be certified by Project Lead the Way," she said. Project Lead the Way is a nationally recognized curriculum that provides rigorous, collaborative and hands-on courses in engineering and biomedical sciences. CJ was the first, and remains the only, Catholic high school in Ohio tooffer Project Lead the Way courses to its students.
"With these funds, we will be able to more fully equip our engineering protyping lab, and add computers to the biomedical lab. The grant will also help fund professional development for our teachers, and send them to the Project Lead the Way national summit this fall," Draeger said.
"I am excited about CJ winning this award. I think the things that impressed them (Dayton STEM Hub) the most about our program were that we are the only area Catholic high school positioned as a leader in STEM education, and we provide outreach to students in elementary schools.
"Another big reason we succeeded in winning funding is that we are well-connected to area resources from institutions of higher education, industry and business, and numerous STEMM educational partners."
Draeger said that she is extremely appreciative of the support, interaction and educational opportunities that the University of Dayton, Sinclair Community College, and Wright State University have provided CJ students. She is equally impressed and thankful for the enthusiasm, time and support provided by numerous Chaminade Julienne alumni who are professionals in STEMM careers, and who are willing to give of their time to as presenters and mentors to CJ students, and advisors to our STEMM initiative.
"It is satisfying to know that the STEMM initiative at CJ, now a year and a half in, has gotten a significant boost from the regional STEM community. This financial endorsement will help stay the course and fully implement the program in the coming years," Draeger said.
Chaminade Julienne alumus Chris Murray '86 was one of many guests invited to CJ this past year to share their knowledge and passion for STEMM-related careers with students. Murray, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, visited the students of anatomy classes taught by Amy O'Loughlin '86. During his sessions, he encouraged students to think through why they want to go to college and to find something that they want to "knuckle down for."
"I think one of the toughest decisions to make is what you want to do for a living. You need to ask yourselves, 'What do I want to go to school for?' You want it to be the right decision. School is a ton of money."
Murray relayed how he believed that he would be an engineer some day, but was not crazy about the amount and degree of math that was involved. Then he discovered biomedicine and appreciated how much it had in common with the principles of engineering. Now he spends his days delivering anesthesia to patients undergoing medical procedures—he is in charge of managing their pain relief, airway and is ready to respond to emergency situations.
"My job is to make sure that a patient is safe during surgery and offer emotional and physical comfort. You have to be vigilant and competent.
The entire surgical team must work together to ensure a good outcome for each patient." He described several of his experiences working with patients, and said that he has met about 12,000 in his 10 years in his career.
As part of his presentation, Murray described the amount of education involved in becoming a certified nurse anesthetist as well as the benefits to those who successfully complete the program. "Most start at $130,000-$145,000, 40 hours a week with 5-6 weeks paid vacation. There are always jobs, though this job isn't just for everybody."