Helping Atlanta-area students find their way to a STEM degree



“We want these students to leave interested in pursuing a STEM degree and, more importantly, knowing that there are multiple pathways for them to pursue a STEM degree,” De La Fé said.

Diana Ayala is a senior at McClure High School of Health Sciences in Gwinnett County who is considering applying to Georgia Tech to pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Diana learned at the conference that even if she doesn’t get admitted as a freshman, she could still achieve that dream through one of many transfer pathways, including one for first-generation students. .

“I have always focused on the entry [to Georgia Tech] as soon as I applied,” Diana said. “Now that I know [about transfer options]it’s a relief, because now I know I have yet another way in.

Diana and the other students spent part of the day working on a timed engineering design challenge that required them to work as a team to build a three-level cardboard funhouse. They had to design the house to allow a golf ball to travel from top to bottom. The students were randomly assigned, so most had never met one of their teammates before.

“It was a really nice experience working with different people from other schools, learning more about why they are here and where they want to go,” Diana said.

Bridges-Mathieu, an engineering teacher at Arabia Mountain High, said the challenge was a perfect example of the technological problem solving she works on with her students.

“They have to work with a group of people they don’t know. They must learn to work as a team in order to solve a task or a problem. And that’s what engineering is,” she said. “We always use the resources we have to create sustainable solutions.”

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