STEMM Students Lead Way in Final Months

Projects, presentations, guest speakers, special exploration days and field trips filled the final two months of an exciting school year for CJ STEMM students. With the introduction of new fourth-year Project Lead the Way biomedical science and engineering electives last August, and nearing the one year anniversary of the program’s nationally certified status, the opportunities for Eagles interested in STEM career fields have never been more abundant.

Take a walk back through the activities from the last weeks of 2011-12 in the shoes of a CJ STEMM student:

On Friday, April 20, CJ got the Earth Day celebrations started early, recognizing the annual environmental awareness holiday a few days ahead of schedule in order to include 7th grade students from St. Albert and St. Christopher schools. Eagle Ambassadors helped lead a group of about 70 youngsters at three activity stations on campus. At each station, area experts guided lessons focused on the topic of earthquakes.

“A lot of times there is a pattern in science, and I think kids when they are young have a lot of native curiosity about those types of things,” said Dr. Allen J. McGrew, geology professor at the University of Dayton. McGrew joined fellow professionals Ann Steinart of Cincinnati’s Betts House and Andrew Shepherd of Beavercreek’s Riverside Research, who each shared different lessons.

“If you look at the greatest challenges facing society today, a lot are – at their core – scientific,” McGrew asserted. “So, if we aren’t educating kids now to take on our greatest challenges, then what is education about?”

The day’s challenge facing St. Albert and St.Chris students was to build a seismograph – an instrument used to measure vibrations made by earthquakes – using only household items. After lunch, teams tested their creations in the Student Conditioning Center.

Read more about the morning’s Earth Day e-Text seminar at >

Twenty-four students taking the first-year PLTW course Principles of Biomedical Sciences with teacher Amanda Ooten traveled to Good Samaritan Hospital April 24 for its annual GSH 101: Introductions to Careers in Health Sciences class. The group toured the hospital and heard from three health professionals, plus got a behind-the-scenes look at the Emergency Room and a human cadaver.

“We all had a great time and can’t wait to go back again next year with a new group of students,” Ooten said.

Find field trip photos shared on our Facebook page >

Days later, her classes presented their grant proposals (pictured above) – a unique part of the PLTW curriculum – in front of students, faculty and staff in the library. The project challenges small groups of students to identify a real-world problem, research a solution, and write a seven section grant detailing their plan.

“This project allows students to see the true application of everything they’re learning,” Ooten said. “It isn’t just confined to the classroom.”

Three months of prep work culminated in presentations April 30 and May 1 to hypothetically determine if projects would receive funding. Those in attendance were asked to grade proposals across six categories.

"Six of this year’s eight projects scored well enough to receive funding," said Ooten.

The Principles of Biomedical Sciences class is the first in a series of four PLTW courses designed to end with the capstone Biomedical Innovation course, which was added this year to allow CJ students to apply their acquired skills. Capstone projects were presented May 9, 11 and 14 in teacher Amy O’Loughlin’s classroom.

Check out the complete listing of CJ PLTW curriculum in the 2012-13 course catalog >

Complimenting this year’s CJ STEMM Idol Speaker Series were two impromptu May presentations by professionals and professors in the health sciences and engineering career fields.

On May 4, Sr. Carol Bauer, vice president of mission effectiveness at Good Samaritan Hospital, spoke with science and religion classes on a wide variety of topics surrounding health care ethics and the role of Catholic values.

“Health care in today’s society is extremely complex,” Sr. Carol explained. Technology, she added, only compounds the issue.

“Even though we can do it, should we?” she challenged students. “And the more technology develops, the more important that question becomes.”

On May 24, technology was again at the forefront of conversation, this time regarding supply chain management. Marsha Loges ’63 and Ray Girard, instructors at Sinclair Community College, gave CJ PLTW engineering, economics and accounting students insight into the field considered the backbone of the economy in the business world today.

Whether it be providing a service or completing a school assignment, the pair offered three keys to success that must always be addressed: cost, schedule and performance.

“Strive for the lowest cost, stick to a schedule, and produce the highest quality product possible,” Girard said.