The STEM Scholars program, launched in the fall of 2022, has completed its second year. It was packed with great opportunities for students with an interest in pursuing a STEM career. The students were able to listen to dynamic speakers, go on field trips, and for the Seniors in the group, participate in amazing internships that gave them a firsthand taste of a future in STEM.  

Starting the year off in October, Dr. Jason Lisle gave a fascinating chapel presentation followed by an exclusive meet and greet for the STEM Scholars. The group shared lunch with him and had the opportunity to ask all sorts of questions about him and his work, ranging from young-earth astrophysics to the science behind UFOs and intelligent extraterrestrial life. This would become the model for the rest of the year, as several other industry professionals from a variety of fields agreed to meet with the group for similar meetings and Q&A sessions.  

Electrical engineers, civil engineers, computer scientists, nurses, and even chemists all had a spotlight at these special STEM lunch meetings. One week Timothy’s own Dr. Heffner told the students all about his history with the production of soaps and other cleaning agents from his position as a chemist and researcher. On another occasion, a panel of six different nurses all came in to give a variety of different perspectives on their experiences in the world of medicine. The STEM Scholars could always look forward to an engaging speaker and a good meal whenever one of these special sessions was scheduled.  

Beyond the borders of the classroom, the students in the program had several opportunities to implement what they were learning in their engineering classes and other STEM courses. In December, the group took a trip with Mrs. Martinez to Middlesex County College to work with a professor there to disassemble and reassemble a car engine. The class learned about the various different parts of an engine and how they work together.  

Later in the year, the class would find themselves ‘locked in together’ at the very first STEM Scholars Escape Room challenge. Assembled by the STEM faculty at TCS, the activity required two separate teams of students to use their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math to solve a series of problems in order to find the codes needed to ‘escape the mad scientist’s laboratory.’ Racing against the clock and each other, the two teams showed their mastery of the core concepts of STEM and their ability to collaborate with their fellow scholars.  

The highlight of the program for the seniors in the class was undoubtedly the STEM Senior Internship Program. Timothy faculty worked with the students, parents, and alumni connections to find different industry professionals who would be willing to take them on as interns at their workplaces. Each Wednesday from February through May, the Seniors would go off-campus instead of attending their usual classes, getting real-world experience and learning the ins and outs of their field of choice.  

This May, they gave presentations on everything they learned and accomplished during their internship experiences. Willow Portée worked at Well Care Pharmacy with Dr. Marian Samaan.  Jacob Dyer and Justin Cooper put in hours at an investment firm, Evergreen Financial mentored by Mr. Joseph Spina. Ben Wang worked at Individual Physical Therapy with Dr. Kate Neiswinter. Aaron Sintha shadowed alumni parent, Dr. Nalini Lam, at RWJ University Hospital. Grace Andersen became a third-grade teaching assistant to Mrs. Karen Geddis at Washington Elementary School in Westfield. Michael Nelson was able to have several one-day engineering experiences with Mr. Joy Christian and Mr. Marc Dyer. Alana Holmes shared about her internship with LEAP for Health and the opportunity she had to work with TCS alumnus Areck Apelian who shared his food science expertise to create her own ‘homemade Mountain Dew!’ The end of year reception was a wonderful evening with refreshments and reunions with mentors, friends, and family, an excellent wrap-up to the second year of the program.  

Miss McKay is planning to introduce a research component to the program and is looking forward to taking the STEM Scholars on a trip to the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Kentucky next year!