Destiney Cardozier and Haley Parker were among the top 11 finalists in a New York Times contest for the best answer to the question "What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?"
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly technical and scientific. Research shows that Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs are expected to grow by 17 percent by 2018. It further shows that millions of these jobs will go unfilled because students won’t have the skills or interest to fill them. DeSoto Parish STEM students will not be counted among the unskilled. Students enrolled in STEM classes throughout the district are doing amazing work and some have received national recognition for their creations.
In early September, Science Times published a back-to-school special about teaching and learning in the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and math. The New York Times joined in by announcing a student contest for the best answers to the question, “What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?”
Ahnie Ingram, a science teacher at North DeSoto High School, inspired students enrolled in her class to take the challenge. Of the 400 entries, two of Ingram’s students, Destiney Cardozier and Haley Parker were among the top 11 finalists.
“Destiney and Haley are great representatives of DeSoto’s STEM endeavors,” said Dr. Cade Brumley, superintendent. “I know their teachers, family, and friends are proud of their efforts – as am I as their superintendent.”
“We conducted an experiment that changed the way I viewed science,” Parker said. Her experiment with a marshmallow, a Coke can, water, heat, and a temperature probe brought her caloric consumption up close and personal. Realizing that billions of calories are consumed every day, often unwittingly, at and between meals, Parker said that as they conducted the experiment, students could see that the marshmallow’s energy was 516.56 calories per gram. “I now can make a more educated decision when picking a snack,” she said.
“My best moment of my science career would have to be when my physical science teacher made a pickle light up due to charges,” Cardozier said. She was excited about the discoveries she made as the experiment was being conducted and the lessons she learned.
These simple but powerful experiments were engaging and thought-provoking, the students said. Parker, Cardozier and their classmates are developing critical thinking skills through project-based learning, and they are preparing to take on real-world challenges.
“I am very proud of Destiny and Haley,” Principal Bart Weaver said. “Our courses challenge students to analyze, problem solve, and create; skills that are transferrable to all courses and real-life situations.”
DeSoto’s STEM initiatives throughout the parish are preparing students of today to become the creators of tomorrow’s innovative products and services that will benefit humanity and address global sustainability. Haley and Destiny are superior examples of students who will be prepared to meet the demands of future STEM careers. Haley plans to become a pediatric doctor and Destiny plans to pursue a career in the medical field.
“We are trying to focus attention and energy to STEM like never before,” said Dr. Brumley. “We need to give each student the skills needed to compete for jobs once they graduate from our system.”
By Edna Wheless