Local Student Participates in STEM Program
Over the unseasonably hot summer, while most middle school students across the region were enjoying visits to the pool and afternoons playing video games, one Pope John Paul II Catholic School seventh-grader was involved in three days of intensive science studies.
Jack Sullivan, son of Marie and John Sullivan, was among 96 students from 29 states selected to participate in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Workshop at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
"This unique program offers selected students, like Jack Sullivan, the opportunity to participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities taught by academy faculty members and cadets," says Catherine Bale, director of outreach for Center for STEM Education, Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, USMA West Point. "We are delighted to be able to offer this workshop to students nationwide, and we hope the workshop will inspire students to explore STEM careers and to stay focused in their studies.
"We are thrilled that one of our students was chosen to participate in such a prestigious program. It was an amazing opportunity, and I am sure that Jack's enthusiasm will inspire many new learning opportunities," says Aimee Viana, PJPII principal. "Jack is a very motivated young man."
At PJPII, Jack was responsible for organizing the school's first newspaper, published this year. He served as a team leader for the Lego Robotics Team, which qualified for the state competition in 2012, and he tutored younger students in math. A well-rounded young man, Sullivan also swims competitively.
According to his mother, Marie Sullivan, Jack's desire to participate in this program was influenced by his family's history of military service. His father, cousins and uncles have all served their country through the armed forces.
"When his algebra teacher, a graduate of West Point, shared information about STEM, Jack was super excited," she says. "He came home -and said, 'Mom, we have to do this now.' There was no waiting until tomorrow."
While at USMA for the workshop, participants follow a regimen similar to the cadets enrolled at the Academy.
To qualify for the program, Sullivan was required to complete an extensive application process. Students were selected based on grades, outside activities, community involvement and the strengths of their written essay and teacher recommendations.
"Jack is a typical young man, but he is very focused for his age," says Marie Sullivan. "He is persistent and goal-oriented. When he wants to accomplish something, he puts his whole heart into it."
Sullivan credits PJPII with her son's acceptance into the program.
"One of the reasons Jack had this opportunity was because of his school," she says. "PJPII teachers encourage students to reach their individual potential and help them find opportunities outside the classroom to expand their knowledge. We are blessed to be a part of such a committed school community.
"With qualified adults supporting talented students, there is no limit to the possibilities for our young people."
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