Thursday, March 6, 2014
It’s like an athletic profile for academics. That’s how a new platform for Goose Creek High School’s STEM (science technology engineering and math) students will work.
STEM Premier, a Mt. Pleasant company, will allow colleges and companies to view student profiles and learn about their grades and – equally as important – their interests.
The program will display the talents of GCHS’s STEM students and will connect them to higher education and industry. Students created their profiles on Feb. 27.
GCHS partnered with STEM Premier and ISPHI; the two companies will each offer a $500 scholarship that will be given to students this year.
Representatives from both companies were on hand Feb. 27 in Project Lead the Way teacher Geoffrey Sklar’s classroom. Sklar teaches Intro to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering and Civil Engineering and Architecture.
Sabrina Childers of ISHPI said the technology company specializes in information in cyber dominance, engineering and technical services. She said a lot of their work deals with government contracting.
“Community service can be just as important as grades,” STEM Premier Co-Founder and President Donald Tylinski said. “This is the first platform that gives students a way to brand themselves and have a profile like athletes.”
About 400 GCHS STEM students are expected to have such profiles this year, according to Berkeley County School District PIO Susan Haire.
Colleges will be able to look at students and tell them if they need to take a certain course to get into a certain college, Haire said.
“It will make students more marketable for companies,” Sklar said. “I want to use it as a notebook rather than the 500-word why-do-you-want-to-be-an-engineer essay. Their ultimate goal is to go to an engineering school.”
“Don’t go unseen,” is the company’s tagline, STEM Premier Co-Founder and CEO Casey Welch said.
“Some companies want a 2.5 GPA student who is interested in the outdoors, hunting and has a technical skill,” Welch said. “They can post internships and have access to student information.”
In some cases a company can ask students if they are interested in a field they may never have heard of, such as landscape architecture, Welch said.
STEM Premier was first accessed by GCHS students on computers. It is also built to work on cell phones and tablets, because that’s what students have near them, Welch said.
This will make it easier for students to keep their profile up to date.
Tylinski said he was a superintendent in Pittsburgh for 22 years. That’s when he realized students were not being seen, thus they wondered what the point of their work was and had a negative attitude, he said.
“If someone volunteers for Habitat For Humanity, how do you put that in a 50-word essay?” Tylinski asked. “You can’t.”
Goose Creek High School Principal Jimmy Huskey views the program as a step in the right direction.
“We have placed a major focus on our STEM and CTE curriculum and facilities to prepare our students for success in a world demanding those skills,” Huskey said. “Our partnership with STEM Premier and ISHPI will allow our students to build their personal brand, get their name out there and be recognized for those skills developed at GCHS.”