MIL STEM Innovation & Computer Labs

STEM Class Aerospace

Jonathan Smith with his aerospace engineering class in the STEM Innovation Lab.

New MIL STEM Innovation and Computer Labs Transform Teaching and Learning

Located in renovated spaces in Paschal Hall, the new MIL STEM Innovation and Computer Science Labs opened in September 2019. The timing was perfect for aerospace engineering, biomedical and computer science Scholars Program students to benefit from the flexibility, collaboration and improved technology that the spaces bring to teaching and learning. The spaces include a virtual reality system, 3-D printers, robotics arena, robotics build rooms and two large classrooms for labs and collaboration. Below, teachers and students reflect on how the new spaces have profoundly impacted their experiences.

Student-teacher collaboration and project based learning are fundamental components to the national recognized Project Lead the Way curriculum. St. Mary’s Ryken features Project Lead the Way curricula in the Scholars Program for the computer science, engineering and biomedical science tracks.

“Our STEM and computer labs allow our students to smoothly transition between abstract programming concepts and the concrete systems on which their software runs. One area where this is evident is in our growing robotics program.” — Marcos Lindekugel, Project Lead the Way computer science teacher

Virtual Reality STEM Lab

Students learn how to use advanced technology such as this virtual reality system used by Marcus Moher.

“As a teacher who shares the space, it is invaluable to have immediate access to supportive colleagues who are experts in chemistry, physics, computer sciences and math. An evolving Maker Space fosters a sense of community and lets creativity drive our students’ learning. “Odor Busting Athletic Bags” and “Futuristic Fasteners” that may one day replace zippers are just a small sample of the innovations our students have developed in this space.” — Mr. Smith, engineering and math teacher

STEM Lab Nikkia Friday

Nikia Friday

“ In the aerospace engineering class, we built a remote controlled plane from scratch. The body of the plane is made of styrofoam along with any 3-D parts that we design and print. Next, we attached the motors and propellers and were able to create this plane with minimal parts.” — Nikia Friday, Scholars Program engineering student

STEM Robotics Areana

Principles of Engineering students display the robots they built and tested in the robotics arena.

- “The STEM Innovation Lab has the space for teaching theory as well as the space and equipment to apply that theory to hands-on projects. State-of-the-art computer software and 3-D printers allow all students to progress from the theory, to collaborative brainstorming, to computer-aided design and finally to an actual product produced by the printers.” — Edward Szymkowiak, Project Lead the Way engineering and math teacher, VEX Robotics Club moderator, FTC Robotics Club moderator and UAS4STEM Drone Club moderator

STEM Table Group PLTW Project Lead the Way Aerospace

“The STEM Innovation Lab has given students a prospective look into what it will be like to work in a collegiate-style STEM lab. Through the use of these labs, students are learning techniques that many wouldn’t learn until well into their college careers.” — Bryan Kerns, Project Lead the Way biomedical science and math teacher