“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math,” aka: STEM, has become a buzzword in conversations about education, careers, and the future of our country as a global competitor in the world economy. It is the opinion of many people that America is lagging behind in STEM-specific skills, but Akili Academy is preparing its students to contribute to the future of STEM. After a competitive application process, Akili was selected and invited to send their 8th graders to participate in the 2019 Delgado Discover STEM Careers Day where students were exposed to career pathways available to them in New Orleans and the educational pathways they can take to connect to them.
Students were able to get hands-on experience exploring many different fields, sparking their interest to possibly pursue careers they might otherwise not have thought of. They were exposed to high-wage, high-demand jobs and provided the information and tools to explore and to consider as they choose high schools that offer career pathway programs of study. “I liked how unique it was,” said Kenira, an Akili 8th grader. “It was eclectic. I liked seeing the new careers. I liked learning about the pharmacist, and it actually got me thinking about going into pharmacy. I also liked the technology and seeing the 3D printer.”
Akili has a robust curriculum and electives that emphasize STEM principles. Many of their scholars are already budding scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. “The Discover STEM Career Day was a great experience for our 8th graders. Not only did they get to learn about different careers in a hands on way, but they also learned about different programs that they can participate in when they are in high school. A highlight of the trip was seeing one group create their own short film and edit it,” said Coral Cyzewski, Akili’s Transition Coordinator whose job it is to work with and help guide 8th graders throughout the year to ensure they apply to rigorous high schools with programs that match their strengths and interests.
YouthForce NOLA, Junior Achievement, and Delgado teamed up in this effort to connect students to economic prosperity by ensuring youth have the knowledge, opportunities, and connections for success in college, careers, and life.
“Our scholars had a great experience, and this gave them the opportunity to think deeply about their career choices,” said Allison Lowe, Akili Principal. “They ended the day excited about more to come and thinking about how high school can help them determine what to do after they graduate.”