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MassBay Partners with Natick High to Launch STEM Tech Career Academy

Friday, June 14, 2024

NATICK, Mass. (June 14, 2023) — MassBay Community College is excited to announce a new partnership with Natick High School to establish the STEM Tech Career Academy. This innovative program, made possible by a $1 million Massachusetts Executive Office of Education grant, is designed to increase interest in and provide access to STEM college coursework for students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, and first-generation students aspiring to pursue STEM-related careers. This grant will engage students beginning in grade 9 and continue to support them through high school graduation, providing college coursework during the regular high school day that aligns with MassBay’s Engineering and Life Sciences degree programs. This collaboration aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed for college degrees and careers in high-demand STEM fields.

“We are extremely grateful for this STEM Career Academy grant and the incredible opportunities it will provide students at Natick High School,” said MassBay STEM Tech Career Academy’s program manager, Jen McAndrew. “We know that early college experiences significantly impact students’ success in higher education. This academy will offer a solid and in-demand career track, enhancing students’ marketability for future job prospects.”

The STEM Tech Career Academy team at MassBay began collaborating with Natick High School in the fall of 2023 to recruit students and train Natick High teachers in the interdisciplinary life science and engineering curriculum. Thirty-two STEM Tech scholars will be participating in this first cohort of the program. Students in grades 9 and 10 will be exposed to both disciplines, with students committing to either the life sciences or engineering pathway in grade 11. This program provides Natick High School students with practical college experience while still in high school. It also provides student support, enrichment activities, and experiential learning opportunities. In 12th grade, students will take at least one class on MassBay’s Wellesley Hills campus.

On Monday, June 17, 2024, the program will kick-off with a visit to ABI-LAB in Natick. The following week students will visit the Natick Soldier Systems Center. These field trips will provide this first cohort of scholars with the opportunity to meet each other and program staff, tour the facilities, hear from STEM professionals, and learn about STEM careers firsthand.

“We are very excited to kick start the STEM Tech Career Academy here at Natick High School,” said Natick High School Science Department Chair, Dan Hinnenkamp. “To provide students with additional science pathways that overlap and give college credit, is a very exciting endeavor here at NHS. This grant has provided everyone with such great resources, I am very excited to follow the path and evolution of this program.”

The STEM Tech Career Academy reflects a shared commitment to expanding access to STEM education and career pathways for underrepresented students, ensuring they are well-prepared for the future.

One Natick High School freshman accepted into the program explained, “I have always been interested in STEM and I am always seeking opportunities to expand my knowledge. I find this Engineering and Life Science course exciting, and I think it will open up new possibilities. I am interested in this program because I believe it will add value by providing me with different STEM related experiences like projects, research, industry exposure, and practical knowledge to build my skills. I believe that this program will help me gain the necessary skills to move me closer to achieving my goal. I am excited about attending this program and am looking forward to learning new things!”

MassBay Community College is the most affordable higher education option in MetroWest Boston, offering a robust portfolio of courses and more than 70 associate degree and certificate programs with flexible day, evening, and weekend classes in Ashland, Framingham, Wellesley Hills, and online. MassBay students receive an unmatched educational value by earning stackable credits that transfer to bachelor’s degree programs, and workforce-ready skills necessary to advance careers in high-demand fields such as health and life sciences, automotive technology, engineering, business, cybersecurity, and the humanities. MassBay’s Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) programs were both ranked as the #1 Nursing Program in Massachusetts in 2020-2021 by national nursing advocacy organizations, and Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and remains firmly committed to its mission of meeting the needs of the diverse local communities it serves. We value the intrinsic worth of all individuals, collectively in pursuit of inclusiveness and prioritize our work towards achieving equity within our community and beyond.

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