In support of the School's Mission Statement, Tampa Prep offers an interdisciplinary STEM Concentration for rising 10th grade students who relish the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This concentration requires students to select classes from a body of relevant coursework that lies at the heart of the interdisciplinary focus. In addition, students are asked to participate in one of several extracurricular activities that complement the program. Participants must also attend a manageable selection of related events. The underlying goal is to equip graduating students with a range of experiences that prepare them for further opportunities in these fields, while also completing Tampa Prep’s graduation requirements. Students who successfully complete all requirements for a Concentration will be recognized at graduation.
PROGRAM OVERVIEW AND CURRICULUM CRITERIA: STEM
2. Completion of the core curriculum
3. Regular participation in an approved activity
4. Must attend all scheduled on-campus events and one off-campus event each semester
5. Completion and presentation of an approved culminating research project
6. Undertake a STEM-oriented Senior Internship
7. Maintain a minimum overall unweighted 3.0 GPA in STEM courses
8. All exceptions to these requirements must be approved by the STEM Committee.
ALUMNUS SUCCESS STORY
“Two years in the STEM program at Prep changed my life. A lot. I can’t imagine what three years in the program would’ve done for me!”
PEDRO LIMA, CLASS OF 2014
Pedro Lima was a junior at the inception of Tampa Prep’s STEM Concentration, which means he missed being one of the first graduates with that recognition by just one year. But true to engineering form, he worked with the parts he had, and built something magical with it.
Lima admits that engineering wasn’t even on his radar until his junior year of high school when he learned about robotics. “My first taste of engineering was being on the robotics team,” he says. “Just being on that team with other people . . . that collaboration factor drew me in really quickly.” From there he learned about applied mathematics and applied sciences, “which is now what I really enjoy doing,” he says.
With just two years of STEM-focused studies with instructor KK Quah, Lima was accepted into Carnegie Mellon University’s engineering program. “I entered CMU as a freshman clear on my decision to be an electrical and computer engineering major,” says Lima. “Doing STEM with KK (Quah) helped me decide that before I ever stepped foot on campus.”
Lima chose electrical engineering as a path because of the spread that exists within the major. “There are a lot of things you can do within that degree,” he says. “It’s a lot of hands-on work that is electrical-related, computers, and thinking. A lot of thinking.”
During the summers, Lima has been working--and thinking--at Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, CA, realizing a lifelong dream.
“It has been a dream of mine to work for Disney since I was a little kid,” he says. “I thought I wanted to be on the creative side, but after being in engineering courses I discovered I wanted to be on more of the technical side.” So Lima has spent the past summer as a software engineer at Imagineering, testing design and implementation of software for ride systems. It’s a job he hopes will become full time when he completes his masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, which he begins at Carnegie Mellon in spring of 2019.
Though Lima and his fellow classmates in the Class of 2014 weren’t able to complete the STEM Concentration, they all wish they could have. “Two years in the STEM program at Prep changed my life. A lot. I can’t imagine what three years in the program would’ve done for me!”