Seniors at the STEM Academy at Martin High School in Arlington are getting ready to graduate soon. They will be the first class to graduate with studies that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.
"For us, this graduating class is like our first born," said engineering teacher Kelly McCollough. "We have students who say, you know, this isn't for me, and to me, that's just as much as great an accomplishment as having a student say, wow, I never knew engineering was something I wanted to do."
Two of McCollough's students caught the engineering bug, and will continue to study it in college. They've received full scholarships to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), one of the most prestigious engineering schools in the country.
"I feel like I'm underplaying how big of a deal it is and I'm just going off to college," said Sam Maldonado. She is a first generation American whose parents moved here from Mexico. Maldonado said her father was telling everyone about her acceptance to M.I.T. "What I've always wanted to do was something that impacted, like, not only me, but other people."
While half of the students in the STEM Academy at Martin High School are female, there are still more men in STEM jobs.
"It's definitely intimidating at first, but I think it's important to know that being a woman, it doesn't hinder you," said Maldonado. "You're capable of anything you put your mind to."
Maldonado's teacher said women can bring a different perspective to the STEM equation.
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"We tend to want to do things with our hearts and we tend to want to help others," McCollough said. "Engineering is a field in which they can do that."
"I just want to be able to do something for the world," said Trinity Stallins, who also received a scholarship to M.I.T. "It's kinds of cliche, or cheesy, but that's just what I've always thought of doing."