All St. Mary's Ryken Students have access to STEM programs and classes. STEM classes at St. Mary's Ryken prepare students for careers in science, engineering, computer science and math by introducing them to high-level, hands-on experiences and projects before college. SMR faculty members who teach STEM classes encourage students to pursue an in-depth education in areas such as engineering, science, medicine, math and technology and to stay engaged in those areas beyond high school.
New MIL STEM and Computer Labs Wing Transform Teaching and Learning
Located in renovated spaces in Paschal Hall, the new MIL STEM Innovation and Computer Science Labs opened in 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.
Aerospace Engineering Course
Aerospace Engineering—a yearlong course—is part of the Project Lead the Way engineering pathway in the Scholars Program. Students will explore fundamentals of flight in air and space through software simulations and hands-on experiences. Students will learn how these concepts apply to a career in aerospace engineering and to other engineering fields. Specific units will cover an introduction to aerospace, aerospace design, propulsion and alternative applications. This is the third of the PLTW required courses within the engineering pathway; the first two, for freshmen and sophomores, are Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. The pathway culminates with a senior capstone course.
Cybersecurity Pathway, Part of the Scholars Program
As part of the Scholars Program Computer Science pathway, Cybersecurity courses were introduced in the fall of 2019. Cybersecurity introduces the tools and concepts of cybersecurity and encourages students to create solutions that allow people to share computing resources while protecting privacy. This is the fourth of the required PLTW courses within the computer science pathway; the first three are Introduction to Computer Science, AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science.
STEM Activities and Clubs
- FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics Team | All SMR students are invited and encouraged to be a part of the team. The team is responsible for designing, building and programming their robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams from local and regional high schools. The robot kit is reusable from year to year, and is programmed using a variety of languages.
- UAS Drone Club | Members participate in local competitions, learning from experts in the field and benefiting from partnerships from resources provided by the Patuxent Partnership. Students attending training sessions at the University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft System training at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site at the St. Mary's County Regional Airport and have the opportunity to attend presentations by active and retired naval test pilots and engineers.
- Tech Squad | Students develop the skills necessary to work with technology consumers in a variety of fields as they learn to assess and formulate solutions for relevant case study problems. Students will learn how to diagnose technological problems, understand why a fix works, understand what to do if a fix doesn't work, how to prioritize projects and work as a team. Students will use WordPress to create posts, articles and videos that will provide realtime tech assistance to SMR students and teachers. Successful completion of this course will allow students to take part in Tech Squad internships.
- Scientists and engineers from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River serve as mentors for science research projects, club moderators and guest speakers
- Naval Air Station Patuxent River, St. Mary's County Regional Airport and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory among others serve as hands-on learning environments for many classes such as aerospace engineering and the Tech Squad field trips.