STEM program at Essex High School named among best in the nation

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Whether it’s an interest in science, technology, engineering, or math, the STEM academy at Essex High School is helping students explore those fields in depth while learning the skills to be successful along the way.

“It gives us the opportunity to actively engage in the stem field and not just hear about it,” said Tilly Krishna, a junior. “We actually have opportunities to do things which I think is really amazing and has been really beneficial for us.”

Newsweek magazine thinks the program is pretty amazing too. It recently ranked 5,000 stem programs across the country and the one at Essex came in at number 50.

“I really want students to go out into the world better informed about who they are and how that might relate to what they do in the future,” said Lea Ann Smith, leader of the Stem Academy at Essex.

Smith leads the 135 students involved in the program. Through lectures, internships, field trips, and capstone projects, students are connected with the stem community.

“We give them the chance to explore a little bit,” Smith said. “Listen to doctors talk, listen to engineers, talk, and then go out in the field for their internship to actually see what it’s like.”

“There’s definitely an emphasis and a culture that pushes people to find what they enjoy and explore many different things,” said junior, Sophie Forcier.

Through her internship, she’s spent time shadowing in the intensive care unit at UVM Medical Center as well as the E.R. Soon, she plans to explore a private practice. She says it’s allowed her to see how work in the classroom applies to the real world.

“To be able to gain exposure to those different settings and decide the pros and cons of the environment versus a private practice or a fast paced er setting,” Forcier said.

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