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Arlington ISD STEM Academy College student Earns Nationwide Award

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March 16, 2021

Becoming a college student at the STEM Academy opened up more than just a new planet in education and learning for Michelle Nguyen. Attending the faculty on the Martin Large Faculty campus also served as the inspiration for an award-profitable app created by the 16-12 months-previous junior.

The light-bulb instant was born from Nguyen’s interactions with classmates at STEM Academy from all in excess of the city.

“I realized that even even though we all lived in Arlington and went to Arlington community colleges, our ordeals and the environments we had been surrounded by had been diverse,” Nguyen reported.

Bridging those people differences with the shared passions of college students from throughout Arlington ISD led Nguyen to structure “Clava.” The application connects men and women to other folks with identical likes, no matter of where by they live and what school they attend.

“For illustration, the computer system science scene at Martin is more powerful than most other substantial faculties, so anyone intrigued in CS at yet another university would have a tougher time obtaining friends with that similar curiosity,” Nguyen reported. “I needed to enable reduce people discrepancies and provide a way for learners to link in a meaningful way. Just after all, executing something you like with other men and women can help hold you inspired.”

Determination has not been an issue for Nguyen. She’s taken aspect in laptop or computer science competitions because her freshman year. STEM Academy/Martin trainer James Hovey coached Nguyen in people contests, and has been her highly developed pc science instructor the past two decades.

“Additional so than any scholar I have had prior to, Michelle enjoys to contend,” Hovey stated. “These competitions need and teach capabilities much over and above what we learn in course. She competes in coding competitions, several diverse world wide web layout competitions, application advancement and a selection of cybersecurity competitions.”

Clava attained Nguyen countrywide recognition, with the late Rep. Ron Wright naming her as the winner of the 2020 Congressional App Problem. Extra than 6,500 learners registered for the 2020 Congressional App Obstacle, publishing 3,088 operating apps amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan of Clava instantly related with Hovey.

“I keep in mind when she believed of the idea, and I liked it promptly,” he claimed. “I take pleasure in all the pursuits and clubs that my college students participate in, and we’d recognized that lots of of them were being matters that only our university did. I know how much understanding, entertaining and gain learners acquire from these functions, and how lots of other pupils even locally had been not finding the exact same opportunities.”

It really is risk-free to say that Nguyen has created an impact more than the several years. STEM Academy coordinator Marianne Varner taught Nguyen in freshman geometry, and they have labored together ever since.

“She is an fantastic university student,” Varner said. “She is presently a junior, and having programs at both Martin and UTA. She is pretty arranged and on leading of issues, and still she relates effectively to both of those peers and lecturers.”

The STEM Academy had its very first freshman class fall of 2015. The application system is open to moving into 9th graders from across the Arlington ISD and non-public/constitution faculties. Now, the Academy has 535 learners who are cohorted in their pathways and main courses. As juniors, they can start getting twin credit history lessons at UTA in STEM classes these as engineering, laptop or computer science, mathematics, psychology, chemistry and biology, along with some basic higher education classes.

The Academy has graduated two classes so much 2019 and 2020, with 98 % of graduates attending 4-yr faculty plans. Among the the universities attended by Academy alums are MIT, Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, Rice, Texas A&M, Texas and UTA.

“Our students are extremely nicely well prepared to remain in college packages,” Varner reported. “Our motto that we share with the kids is ‘Dream large, be daring.'”

Nguyen also plays tennis for Martin, is a peer mentor for STEM Academy freshmen, started the Girls Who Code club and president of the Crucial Club. And her Nguyen’s cleverness isn’t really confined to just coding. Clava is Latin for “club.”

She’s unquestionably designed the most of her of workforce at STEM Academy.

“Following becoming in the STEM Academy for approximately 3 several years now, I can definitively say that it a person of the greatest alternatives I could have built,” she stated. “For one, it is really authorized me to satisfy folks who have pushed me to grow to be a superior person and problem me each working day. I really feel like I have manufactured lifelong buddies with people in STEM who I would have normally never satisfied.

“STEM has also supplied me with so numerous possibilities this sort of as making it possible for me to take part in various coding competitions, taking me on visits to destinations like NASA, and supplying me the potential to choose UTA courses as a superior university college student.”


This push launch was produced by the Metropolis of Arlington. The views expressed right here are the author’s personal.

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