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The Latest and Greatest

posted Oct 20, 2017, 2:25 AM by Michael Reilly
First, there's big news about a huge, cool recognition we are going to receive, but we can't tell you!  At least, not until early November, so stay tuned!

It's a been a strong start to the school year, with some challenges and successes.  Our classes are underway, and we are seeing some amazing work by our kids, while also needing to teach some professional skills a bit better.  Each year brings a new class of 9th graders, and you can always depend on some really cool surprises from that group in terms of their creative demonstrations and projects.

We have been very fortunate to have even more local corporate involvement.  In addition to our existing relationships, especially with #StateFarmIT, we have started a program with the Macy's System and Technology ONYX group.  The IT hub of Macy's is only about 20 minutes from our school, in Duluth, and they are very interested in supporting more STEM kids.  One particular focus is diversity, and supporting that by hosting sessions at Lanier to mentor STEM students of color who are not traditionally IT candidates.  We need more diversity in our IT workforce, because we can't make products and solutions for the world if we don't have the world represented in our creators.  This has been off to a great start, and really compliments our State Farm IT involvement.

In addition, the Alcon Corporation of Johns Creek has reached out and offered a tour of their facilities, with a special focus on women in STEM.  They are one of the largest companies in the contact lens business, and have biological, chemical and mechanical engineering operations to show, so we're taking a group of girls on Nov. 1 to see all of it!  This will be led by Dr. Rohrbaugh, our Academy Lead but also a trained lab scientist herself.

We are incredibly proud of the initiatives of our current Seniors too!  Teishana Antoine, Stephanie Meneses, Marissa Sorkin, Elisa Mendez, Analisa Rodriguez and others have led a girls program at Lanier Middle School to inspire other girls to look at STEM, particularly computing.  They wrote and won over $6,000 in grants to support this effort, as we try to fix one of the biggest problems in STEM education:  girls participate in middle school, then drop off in high school.  We believe in our girls, as they mentor the middle school girls, and invite in women from local tech companies as speakers, and more!  Watch for amazing results this Spring as our STEM numbers JUMP!

Finally, we have a lot coming up.  After the Alcon trip Nov. 1, we have a FIRST Lego League Tournament on Dec. 2, Science Fair and Showcase Dec. 6, Hackathon in January, FIRST Robotics for our FRC team in January-March, and so much more!

And let's not forget about that news in November....