By Brigid Clifford, Features Editor
Trinity Hall has celebrated some major advancements to the STEM program within the past month. The school has received two grants, three students have been accepted in a STEM-related fellowship program and a new STEM club has been formed.
To win the grants, the school had to go through lengthy and competitive application processes. In the Ocean First Bank competition, Trinity Hall was one of only five winning schools selected out of the 73 Monmouth and Ocean County schools that entered the contest to win $10,000 to build a model classroom. The school will use the award to design an engineering lab, including a 3D printer, laser cutter, robotics materials and other materials to make a cutting-edge engineering program.
“We were extremely surprised to win the grant because we’re a new school that’s still in the process of developing our programs, but they must have seen the potential in our vision and direction,” STEM teacher Kali Lambrou said. “The grants will benefit the school because they will help fulfill our mission of closing the gap for girls trying to develop the skills to pursue any kind of technology-related career, which is typically a male-orientated environment.”
First Energy Corporation also awarded Trinity Hall with a $500 grant to complete one project for one grade, which Lambrou plans on using for the sophomore engineering course for a unit on electricity.
In addition to the grants, sophomores Holly Koerwer, Katie Valsemidas and Pallavi Kawatra have been accepted to the fellowship program She++, a program run by Stanford University that encourages young women to promote STEM opportunities for other girls within their community. The students are now working on their initiatives for submission to the She++ summit in 2015.
“I’ve always been interested in STEM, and [She++] is a good way to learn about what to do in the future and have other experiences,” said Valsamides.
“To get involved, we had to apply to be part of an initiative, design and come up with an initiative, and apply it to the summit later. If [our initiative] is accepted, it can later go to Silicon Valley,” said Koerwer.
“My initiative is to start a website that is a tool for kids to learn math and science skills, and to send the website to schools in India,” said Kawatra.
Lambrou said the school plans to participate in the program again next year and hopes to form a partnership with Stanford University in the near future as well.