Engineering, health academies propel students to career opts

MADISON – Four seniors impressed Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols with knowledge they’ve gained in academy experience at Madison’s high schools. Nichols focused on the conversations in his recent podcast, “Sittin’ With the Supe.”

Nichols invited Olyvia English and Parx White in the Engineering Academy at Bob Jones High School, along with Tara Flynn and Akshat ‘AK’ Dubey from the Health Science Academy at James Clemens High School. The teenagers are seniors and have engaged in internships to learn on-site at hospitals, clinics, corporations . . . even veterinarian offices.

English’s internship took her to Nola I VanPeursem Architects in Huntsville. She worked with concept design for renovations and built a model for Bob Jones by using Sketchup 3D modeling software.

“Olyvia designed several models that could be used in the future for an expansion that we want at Bob Jones,” Nichols said.

The Civil Engineering and Architecture class that English took as a sophomore benefitted her. “The class introduced me to Sketchup and helped me start to think about design,” English said.

“From this internship, I’ve grown more of a passion for architecture. I’ll attend either Auburn University or Mississippi State University for a degree in architecture and a minor in environmental studies or interior design,” English said.

White interned with CFD Research Corporation. “In computer-aided design, you’re taking an idea and turning it into a working model. In school, you’re drawing pictures in CAD, but at CFD I was seeing the real impact of my work,” White said.

Prerequisite classes are Introduction to Engineering and Principles of Engineering with physics-oriented topics and ‘heavy’ math. “You start with a basic introduction on the engineering side. Then, you can branch out to design or architecture or a specific discipline,” Nichols said.

“Mrs. Jessye Gaines has been phenomenal to place us in a field that interests us,” White said.

White will attend Auburn for mechanical engineering, leaving the door open to specialize. “To have his option in public school is a massive (help),” White said.

Flynn has enrolled in Health Science Academy for four years. Flynn interned at Huntsville Hospital, Crestwood Medical Center, clinics and four veterinarian offices.

Flynn and Dubey experienced clinical work to identify a concentration in medicine. Prerequisite courses are Orientation to Health Science; Foundation to Health Science; Human Body Structures and Functions; and Career Technical Education or CTE for certifications.

“Tara has two certifications that are job-worthy,” Nichols said.

Interested in veterinary medicine, Flynn will study as an undergraduate in biology or animal science. “I’m in the process of choosing the best college for me,” Flynn said.

Like Flynn’s path, Dubey has enrolled in health for four years. “I visited the same locations as Tara. We viewed both sides of medicine – hospitals and patient clinics,” Dubey said.

At the hospitals, “We branched out to our departments. We could shadow a ‘tech’ (technician), nurse or doctor. We saw different scenarios and even helped, like taking vital signs, if needed,” Dubey said.

“Normally, you wouldn’t see these situations, like in ICU; I saw someone ‘code’ and die in front of me,” Dubey said.

“CTE is a new course. On two days per week, we have labs and wear scrubs (like employees). We learned basic info, like vitals,” Dubey said.

Next, Dubey advanced to phlebotomy and practiced drawing blood on mannequin arms. “We learned how to ‘stick arms and also used EKG machines,” he said.

Dubey already has earned EKG certification. He’ll pursue a biology-related major. “I want to go into cardiology, especially after practice with EKGs,” he said.

“(In this room), we have a cardiologist, a veterinarian, an architect and an engineer. We’ve got this covered! We’re set to go another 35 years in Madison with these four folks right here,” Nichols said.

“We’re blessed to offer these internships in MCS. We know that you’ll be outstanding in whatever field you choose,” Nichols said.



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