Mazama High School and Oregon Tech have expanded the benefits of their STEM&M partnership, adding additional scholarship opportunities, two terms of free tuition and preferential access to selective Oregon Tech programs, according to a Klamath County School District news release.
STEM&M students chose specific pathways in science, technology, engineering, math, or medicine and then take rigorous college prep curriculum that meets Oregon Tech admission requirements. The students also earn dual high school-college credits for many of the classes they take, graduating with an estimated 30 college credits already earned.
The Oregon Tech-Mazama STEM&M program started in the 2016-17 school year. School officials, who had agreed to re-evaluate STEM&M’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) after three years, decided to add incentives to the successful program. The new MOU, which is for 2019-20, has an expanded benefits package that ranges in value between $12,450 to $18,550, up from $10,500.
“Mazama STEM&M is a quality example of a positive and productive partnership between high school and higher education,” said Laura Nickerson, a Mazama teacher and STEM&M adviser. “Mazama STEM&M graduates are now in the Oregon Tech system, and we’ve heard nothing but great things about their success and representation at Oregon Tech.”
STEM&M was one of the first direct, high school to Oregon Tech programs marketed, said Grace Rusth, associate director of Educational Partnerships and Outreach at Oregon Tech.
“We have seen great success and strong students coming out of STEM&M and recognize the hard work and dedication required to successfully navigate the additional requirements of the program,” Rusth said. “The STEM&M program is a great example of partnership done right and for the right reasons. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished and look forward to the next cohort each year and the first STEM&M-Oregon Tech graduates coming soon.”
Early STEM&M alumni have been recognized throughout the university including being PreCollege Camp leaders and earning scholastic fellowships. Mariano Segura, one of the Mazama’s first STEM&M students, was selected as one of five DeArmond fellows working with the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center Research and Development (OMIC R&D) in Scappoose, Ore., in addition to his mechanical engineering technology studies on the Klamath Falls campus.
Last year, 40 Mazama High School freshmen were inducted into the STEM&M program. A new group of freshmen can apply this spring, starting the program sophomore year. To apply, students have to submit transcripts, three letters of recommendation and an application essay. Mazama staff grade applications using a 240-point rubric. Students who score 85 percent or higher are invited to join the STEM&M cohort, Nickerson said.
Students sign STEM&M contracts stating they will keep their GPAs at a 3.0 or greater, take four credits of pathway coursework while at Mazama and take nine STEM&M Oregon Tech credits. Students chose a pathway (science, technology, engineering, math or medicine) and receive a STEM&M shirt.
There are a wide variety of perks that come with being a STEM&M student, Nickerson said. In addition to the benefits offered by Oregon Tech, STEM&M students receive a Chromebook for as long as they are in the program and recognition at graduation.
STEM&M is just one of several programs in the Basin that provide opportunities for students who are focused on their future careers.
“One of the things our program does differently is require students to step outside of their comfort zone by earning points for attending monthly guest speakers or by participating in outside of school field trips and learning extensions,” Nickerson said. “Oregon Tech recognizes our students’ efforts above and beyond normal class interactions and this benefits package is a direct reflection of how exclusive and rewarding it is to be a Mazama STEM&M student.”
For information about STEM&M, email coordinator Laura Nickerson at email@example.com.