Three Stillwater students in Meridian Technology Center’s STEM Academy have been recognized for their achievements in the classroom. The Academy encompasses students in Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Engineering.
Biomedical Sciences student Sarah Teeman was recently selected a Freshman Research Scholar at Oklahoma State University. This coveted position is only offered to 90 incoming freshmen. The program provides a unique opportunity for scholars to gain research experience as an undergraduate. Students in the program will focus on foundational topics such as research methodology and ethics during the fall semester. They will also be matched with a mentor in their area of interest and begin to plan a research project that the scholar will implement in the spring semester. As a capstone to the course, students will conduct, analyze and present their project. Ideally, Freshman Research Scholars will continue to engage in research opportunities throughout their tenure at OSU.
Teeman has also been selected to join the President’s Leadership Council (PLC). This program provides incoming first-year students with leadership skills to guide them during their time on campus and as alumni. The Council is limited to 125 people. As a PLC member, Teeman will receive a $1,500 scholarship in addition to course credit.
While at OSU, Teeman plans to study microbiology, followed by medical school, where she plans to specialize in neurology or pediatrics. In 2019, Teeman was the recipient of the Breedlove Externship through the Stillwater Medical Foundation. During the six-week summer fellowship program, she had the opportunity to shadow and learn from physicians within the Stillwater Medical Center network. In addition to her fellowship program, the hospital presented her with the Barbara James Award, recognizing her commitment to community service in the health care field.
All-State STEM Students
Biomedical Sciences student Amanda Cai and Pre-Engineering student Sarah Whitfield were named Academic All-Staters. Each year the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence identifies 100 high school seniors from across the state who exhibit excellence in the classroom. Award winners receive a $1,000 scholarship for college. Cai and Whitfield’s achievements will be recognized at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence awards celebration on May 22.
The All-Stater program is open to public high school seniors who either have an ACT score of 30, an SAT score of 1370, or have been recognized as a semi-finalist in either the National Merit, National Achievement or National Hispanic awards programs. Applicants also had to write an essay focusing on books that have influenced their lives, highlighting what they learned from them and why they would recommend the works to their peers.
In addition to attending Tech, Cai is the co-executive director of Stillwater High School’s Stillwater Makes a Change (SMAC) initiative. SMAC is a student-led fundraising effort that benefits a different non-profit each year. Just over a decade old, SMAC has raised more than one million dollars. This year, Cai and the SMAC student leaders are raising money to support the Stillwater Community Health Center. Cai’s book choices for All-State, “Ambassador” and “Americanah,” moved her to create a book club for immigrant children at the high school. Following graduation, Cai plans to pursue biomedical or chemical engineering. She is currently narrowing down her college choices.
Whitfield is active in CareerTech Student Organizations at Tech and in high school. She is currently an officer for the Stillwater High School chapter of Business Professionals of America and a SkillsUSA member at Meridian. Last year, she was a part of the SkillsUSA quiz bowl team. In high school, Whitfield has been a member of the Mock Trial team for three years and is a National Honor Society member. Whitfield is still debating where she will attend college, but her plans after graduation include studying chemical or electrical engineering.
Success Follows STEM Students
Students from Meridian’s STEM Academy have experienced great success following their time at Tech. At the local level, Pre-Engineering program graduates Courtney Andrews and Sergio Mares were named as two of the 52 Seniors of Significance at OSU for the 2020-2021 academic year. Andrews graduated from the Ferguson College of Agriculture with degrees in biosystems and agricultural engineering. Mares completed his studies in biochemistry and microbiology from the College of Arts and Sciences. The Seniors of Significance Award recognizes students who have demonstrated success in academics, leadership and service during their university tenure.
The OSU Mortar Board Honor Society recognized Audrey Ochsner, a 2019 graduate of the Biomedical Sciences program at Meridian, as a Top Ten Freshman at OSU. This designation takes into consideration scholarship, leadership and service during a student’s first year on campus. Ochsner is now in her second year at OSU, where she is studying agriculture communications.
STEM at Tech
The STEM Academy at Meridian teaches students science, technology, engineering and mathematics principles using Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum. PLTW is a national program that provides transformative learning experiences for students and teachers across the country. It focuses on developing problem-solving skills by immersing students in real-world preparatory-level academics. PLTW has recognized Meridian’s STEM Academy’s success, naming it a Distinguished High School Program for the past three years. In September, the STEM Academy moved into a new 25,000 square-foot wing on campus.
Coursework in the STEM Academy focuses on developing in-demand, transferable skills such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication, ensuring student success no matter their future career pathway. There are 154 students enrolled in the Academy. Students may enroll as a sophomore, junior or senior.
STEM Academy students continue to score above the state and national average on AP tests and ACT scores. Recent Pre-Engineering graduates have an average ACT score of 28.8 and Biomedical Sciences students have an average of 28, outranking the state average of 19 and the national average of 20.7.
Last year, students in the Biomedical Sciences program had a pass rate of 100% on the AP Biology exam, more than doubling last year’s 37% national average pass rate. Since the implementation of the Biomedical Sciences program, 100% of graduates have enrolled in college.
To learn more about any of Meridian’s career training programs visit meridiantech.edu/edu.