Medical professionals, architects and engineers walk the hallways of McMillan Magnet Center. While full-time middle school students, turns out they’re training part-time in industries seeking employment.
It’s through a program that children are exposed to a wide spectrum of career fields, related to STEM – meaning science, technology, engineering and math.
With Project Lead the Way, the program aims to re-invent the classroom experience along with STEM, according to the founders.
Recently, a medical detective class played a game in a hallway to highlight how quickly a virus, like chickenpox, can spread.
Other times, the class will do blood spatter, create DNA necklaces and dissect a sheep brain, says teacher Stefanie Conley.
For Elena Conyers Gaines, the student says the exposure is shaping her career choice later in life. She wants to study genetic engineering, she says.
"I like that we learn about genetics and how diseases can affect genetics,” Conyers Gaines says.
If blood isn't your thing – there are options. I've taken Science Tech [Electronics] and it's where you like build things and put things on the computer to make mechanics stuff, says student Elijah Walsh. Walsh joins his fellow classmates in a green architecture course where kids are scaling famous skylines for a draft. “The capstone is we use some engineering. We do basic electricity,” says the teacher, James Mayberger. “So today, we talked about how to wire things. We talked about voltage [and] current."
At McMillan, gone are the days of when students questioned, “Who uses this stuff anyway?” Instead, students tell 3 News Now they're asking questions like, “How do I become a genetic engineer and what do I need to know to get there.”