CHS alumni reaping the benefits of STEM education

Students find classes to be helpful in college, finding opportunities


Tina Dang

Senior Marlisa Hall works on her classwork in Nicola Wethall’s AP Statistics class on Oct. 25. Hall is interested in pursuing a career in the STEM field.

Elyzha Abella, Reporter

Math. Science. Diversity. These are the words used by Cleveland STEM students and alumni when asked to describe their school. As juniors get involved in job shadow workshops and seniors start working on college applications, students are asking themselves what courses they need to land them the career they want. 

Cleveland’s STEM program affords students opportunities to be involved in classes and programs to which many schools don’t have access. Classes like Multimedia, Forensics and Medical Intervention aren’t typical to most school, which gives Cleveland students a leg up when it comes to available opportunities.

Senior Marlisa Hall attended the eight-week long Fred Hutch Internship over the summer when science teachers Dr. Grant Storey and Michael Shaw encouraged her to apply.

“It was a very humbling experience, especially as an African American because many of the other interns didn’t look like me,” Hall said.

Hall finds herself more intrigued by the science field after being a SoLS student for her four years of high school. She aims to one day attend the University of Washington or University of California at San Diego because of their science programs.

“Cleveland is a really fit school for me, especially since I’m interested in the medical field,” she said.

Hall believes that the science classes go beyond the standardized criteria and are more in-depth on their content.

“All the other schools have basic sciences and humanities classes,” Hall explained. “What separates Cleveland is their BioMed, Medical Intervention and Bio100 classes. In college I will have a head start with what I know so much of right now.”

Although STEM focuses on 21st century skills like math, engineering and technology, students also find that the program helps prepare those who plan to major in other fields as well.

Carlvel Lloyd, a class of 2014 alumni, is now a sophomore at North Seattle Community College and majoring in business.

“Before I came to Cleveland, I wasn’t as good with my social skills,” Lloyd said. “A lot of the presentation projects and group projects really helped me. Now I’m able to work and talk with people I’ve never even worked with before; both in college and in the workplace.”

Junior Zeynab Idris agrees. She’s taking Running Start classes for most of the day and returns to Cleveland in the afternoon for Spanish and AP Chemistry.

“I think the STEM program allows work to be drawn inside and out of classes so students can really see what they’re capable of,” junior Zeynab Idris said. She’s a part of the science academy, but her intended career path is architecture.

“When I draw, I realized I focus on the details,” she said. Idris is enrolled in the SoLS academy, but has her mind set more on engineering. Even before coming into high school, Idris has been working with computers. Her work in Upward Bound gave her exposure to a web design class, where she made her own website.

A few years after high school, Linh Ly’s perspective still hasn’t changed on Cleveland’s positive academic influence. A sophomore at UW, Ly plans to major in Informatics – a mixture of computer science, business, and tech consulting – thanks, in part to STEM.

“I learned a lot about working together and accepting reality better than when I was still at Franklin,” said Ly. “It’s pretty much what you need when you’re in college … be bold and take risks … With those college level classes and AP classes I think it’s what students need to challenge themselves.”

Students and alumni of Cleveland recognize the benefit that a STEM curriculum has provided them. For Lloyd, the opportunities a student gets at CHS are abundant if students take the time to apply.

“Join programs and look for internships that will give you a closer look at what you want to do later in life.”