STEM Academy updates activities


The STEM Academy at Athens Drive high school is aimed to motivate students to create projects and solutions for worldwide problems. 

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students who join this academy usually see themselves pursuing a career in the future that involves one of these fields. Lauren Doran is the coordinator of the academy, and while she was on leave, Micheal Clinkscales helped assist Doran’s curriculum. 

 The Academy’s Energy and Sustainability topics are covered differently at each grade level. The Student Board is also working on its environmental effort for the year, a DIY hydroponic garden. A hydroponic garden is a method of growing plants without soil. It is beneficial for taking care of plants and vegetables all year round indoors, regardless of what mother nature has in store. The student board members used supplies they acquired from Amazon to construct the garden.

“The garden is growing leafy greens, which can hopefully be used in some science classrooms for labs. We were not sure where to keep the garden for a variety of reasons. We wanted it to be visible to students and staff, but also in a place where it could be protected from any mishaps,” said Doran. 

The setup includes LED lights, so light wasn’t a diminishing factor. They settled on the Media Center as it can be seen by the public.

Doran’s experiences help her as the coordinator of the STEM academy.

“I’m really enjoying my role as the STEM Academy Coordinator! I would say my favorite part has been implementing the Student Board and being able to get candid and genuine feedback from these student leaders. The feedback from the students and STEM teachers has energized my work to make the program continuously engaging and impactful,” said Doran. 

With the number of projects and ideas that are presented daily by students, she has seen countless talents and potential leaders in the future. People could be curious about everything she has seen during her time here. 

“The student projects are always very impressive, and it is so fun to see them present their hard work at our annual STEMPosium event in May. The group of students in the Project Invent course that won a trip to the national competition was amazing to watch. They created a potentially life-changing/saving prototype of the Syphon. You can watch their product pitch here. I’ve enjoyed watching the STEM students be challenged and have fun in the Project Invent course!” said Doran.

As students have been working to keep the academy running, here’s what Rishi Mudunuri has to say about working in the academy two years in being a student here at the Drive. 

I believe that the STEM academy is a very good program at Athens. With the project at the end of the year, many speakers, and even many opportunities that Ms. Doran sends us, I believe this academy is very amazing where it’s at right now,” said Mudunuri. 

Students in STEM get opportunities that enhance their hands-on exploration and allow them to touch problems that aren’t just limited to their areas. They get worldwide exposure which is important for global unity. 

“My favorite project has to be during the 2021-2022 freshman year. It was very fascinating to see the electricity plans in small countries around the world and find ways to enhance them,” said Mudunuri. 

The STEM Academy prepares students for modern-day challenges and motivates them to use critical thinking to create solutions and new innovations, which is the source for an advancing generation and modern evolution. Freshmen with a passion for these fields that join the Athens community are introduced to the responsibility of being involved with STEM for the rest of their high school career, which will allow them to develop problem-solving skills.