The Upper School HD STEM Program at AOA is designed for highly motivated and dedicated students who are interested in pursuing a degree and career in a STEM-related field, including the Graphic Arts. This Program is an academic approach that connects the importance of learning and applying skills in the Humanities and STEM fields, along with core values of AOA, to approach contemporary challenges faced in the world. The ultimate goal of the US HD STEM Program is to provide students with a challenging sequence of academic courses, in addition to experiential learning opportunities in research both on and off campus, in order to best prepare students for applying to and matriculating in highly competitive colleges and universities.
To facilitate success in the US HD STEM Program, six concentrations have been developed based in areas of HD STEM-Life Science, Physical Science, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Digital Media Arts. In each concentration, a rigorous scope and sequence of courses has been created to provide students with the knowledge and skills to place them at a competitive advantage in their desired college major. In addition to coursework, students will take classes in research methods (portfolio for the Digital Media Arts concentration) that will provide on and off campus experiential learning opportunities. Students enrolled in HD STEM will have additional opportunities for extracurricular activities, STEM-based honor societies, peer and alumni mentoring, college and career advising, and post-graduation networking. After successful completion of the HD STEM program requirements, students will receive a distinction on their AOA diploma.
All ninth grade students will be enrolled in the course, “Innovation,” as part of their first year in the Upper School. In this course, students will examine what innovation is and how it can be used to solve real-world problems. Students who do well in this course and have an interest in pursuing STEM will be invited in January to apply for the HD STEM program. This application process will involve a review of grades, demonstrated interest, and a passion for learning STEM. There is also a pathway for tenth and eleventh grade students to apply and enroll in the HD STEM program.