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STEM Programs

Research data shows that women continue to be underrepresented in the STEM fields. As such, we are committed to providing a rich STEM program experience for students that include cross-curricular integration of STEM principles and knowledge, along with specific courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects.

At OLP, our integrated STEM philosophy pulls together opportunities for students to see how science, technology, engineering and math all work together. Through these courses, students engage in hands-on, real-world problem solving to apply content-based knowledge. For five consecutive years, OLP has seen over 10% of the school population enrolled in a specific STEM course. 

Courses listed below are part of the integrated STEM department and are accessible to students starting in their ninth grade year.

Course Offerings:

  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP Computer Science A
  • Intro to Biotechnology

STEM engages students in integrated learning as they explore the world around them, create innovative solutions to problems, learn the most important life skills, and communicate their results. Our rigorous curriculum includes access to more than 36 classes in STEM disciplines and additional STEM-centric student leadership and program offerings, such as Hackathon, Purdue University EPICS program, and the Robotics Team.

  • In 2015 the Academy of Our Lady of Peace created the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) certification to acknowledge students for their achievements and involvement in STEM related activities. Students completing the requirements to earn a STEM certificate will receive special recognition at their commencement ceremony, as well as a seal of completion on their graduation diploma. In addition, documentation of STEM completion will be noted on their transcript.
  • OLP’s Robotics and Engineering Club focuses on the development of 21st century skills, teamwork, problem solving, ideation, project management and communications. OLP uses robotics as a tool to promote student engagement and enhance STEM learning at the school. The students involved learn how to use machinery, code, CAD, market their team, create an executed business plan, teach others, be leaders, and work as a team. They use tools such as 3D printers, Solidworks 3D modeling, mills, drills, and many other machines to enhance their learning and ability to create.

The STEM Certificate acknowledges students for their achievements and involvement in STEM courses and related activities. Students completing the requirements to earn a STEM certificate will receive special recognition at their commencement ceremony, a seal of completion on their graduation diploma, and notation on their transcript.

Requirements for the STEM certificate are listed below:

I. GPA: Maintain 3.0 overall GPA each semester (weighted cumulative)

II. Citizenship: Adherence to all policies outlined in the Student/Parent Handbook

III. STEM Courses: Complete the minimum units in each of the following categories

  • Math: 40 units*
  • Science/STEM: 40 units
  • Students may also meet the 40 unit requirement by passing OLP’s Calculus B/C course or an equivalent college-level course or by earning a 3 or higher on the AP Calculus B/C examination.

IV. STEM Extracurricular: Students must earn a minimum of 125 points to meet the extracurricular requirement by participating in any combination of the following listed below. Students must provide proof of attendance in the form of a ticket stub/receipt. In addition to a short summary of the event attended and what was learned.

  • Internship = 30 points per internship
  • STEM Online Certificate = 20 points
  • OLP STEM Certificate Event (on campus) = 15 points per attendance
  • STEM Club = 15 points per year of participation
  • STEM Event (off-campus) = 10 points

V. Advisory Panel Presentation: Students will be required to present their portfolio to a STEM Advisory Panel at the completion of their senior year.

Each year a team consisting of approximately 30 young women participate in the FIRST Robotics Competition. They bring their unique abilities and dedication to the team to design and create a robot to tackle a complex engineering task. This competition challenges engineering and teamwork skills. Each year FIRST releases a unique game and the team designs, builds, wires, and programs a robot to compete in regional competitions after a 2 month build season. They also learn how to incorporate electronics, pneumatics, and programming to increase the functionality of the robot. The competition requires the team to network and collaborate with students from other schools from all over the world on developing a successful game strategy.

This robotics team impacts the OLP community as well as many people by giving them an environment where young women are empowered to participate in the STEM fields. They inspire young girls to pursue careers in STEM fields. Last year, 100% of the graduates continued on to a 4-year college and 80% of the graduates went on to pursue degrees in STEM fields.

  • Congratulations to our amazing Robotics Team on winning the Rookie All-Star award at the FIRST Robotics San Diego Regional Competition in 2018. The team was the FIRST and ONLY all-girls team at the competition. The team also won the Matt Grob Innovation Award presented by Qualcomm! This award recognizes one qualifying team from the San Diego region that exemplifies a high level of innovation throughout the competition. Not only did our Pilots receive this distinguished honor, but they also received a $10,000 award to help them travel to and compete in the 2018 FIRST World Championship in Houston!
  • In 2019, the Pilots received the honor of competing at the FIRST World Championships in Houston for the second year in a row. They were one of four all-girls teams there, breaking the traditional glass-ceiling of team diversity in FIRST and in STEM.

Being a part of the OLP Robotics Team has been amazing. I joined the team at the beginning of my freshman year and have been able to develop deeper relationships with some of my sisters at OLP. I have also increased my interest in STEM and grown in my knowledge of computer science and engineering. As a member of the team, I have been able to help encourage and promote women and girls in STEM fields in our world today.

Mallory Downing '21

I joined the team as a shy freshman who wanted to dive deeper into the world of engineering after being introduced to it at a young age. While attending many robotics competitions as a girl on an all-girls team, I acknowledged that females in the engineering field aren’t getting all the credit they deserve. I decided to dedicate myself to the team all throughout these three years because the lack of women in these male-dominated fields inspired me to take action where it was needed. On the team, I have learned the fundamentals of robotics and made everlasting friendships. I have also become more outspoken as a person due to the opportunities given to reach out to other robotics teams. The Pilots Robotics Team has definitely changed my life for the better.

Kaitlin Ordonio '21

Robotics has allowed me to grow my passion for STEM and has made me discover my desire to pursue engineering. It has allowed me to gain experience creating something and learning how to use different tools and machines that I never expected to use in high school. It helped me accept failures in life and helped me understand the importance of learning from mistakes. It has helped me become diligent. In this club/team, I was able to work with many of my schoolmates and improve my teamwork skills. It has given me the opportunity to create valuable friendships.

Allison Moya '20

Team 6885, The Pilots, holds a very special place in my heart as it has shaped me to be the woman I am today. Through these past years, I have been able to learn leadership and teamwork skills that have helped me excel in multiple aspects of my life. For me, it has open a multitude of doors that I would have never opened myself. Thanks to this team, I am well-versed in coding and Computer-Aided Design(CAD), comfortable with sponsorship grants, know my way around the workshop and have a better understanding of my capabilities as a woman. I believe this team has made an impact on all team members as it has also helped them reach a future with boundless opportunities. I wish every girl can have the chance to be part of this team so they can be inspired to think of themselves as inventors, scientists, and engineers.

Sofia Rojo-Kratochvil '20