HISD STEM students compete for summer internships in Washington, D.C.

Students from the Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy and Energized for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Academy competed April 8 for a chance to win all expenses-paid summer internships with the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C.

The science competition was part of the American Association for Blacks in Energy (AABE) 2014 conference held at the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston. The purpose of the event was to encourage minority students from underserved Houston communities to pursue STEM-related careers.

“The event is not really about competing against each other,” said Argentina James, Energized for STEM Academy Principal. “It’s an opportunity for students from both schools to do a summer internship in Washington, D.C., with the Department of Energy.”

Participants were high school students who previously demonstrated excellence in the STEM academic disciplines at their schools. Teams consisted of five students representing both schools, all of whom are 16 years old and able to intern in the nation’s capital this summer.

“I became interested in STEM when I heard that my friends were interested,” said Young Men’s Preparatory Academy sophomore Sharrieff Muhammad.

“I just wanted to try it out,” said his classmate, Kelwyn Tippins.

YMCPA science teacher Adrian Acosta said the competition, although stressful, was not as stressful as a day in the classroom. “We have rigorous academics on a daily basis. An opportunity like this contest is fun for the students compared to taking tests.”

The AABE organization is committed to prepare the next generation of STEM-educated students for careers in the energy industry. In addition to the competition, students participated in site tours and mentoring relationships with energy professionals at the event ‘s sponsoring companies including CenterPoint Energy, Spectra Energy, and Schlumberger.

YMCPA and Energized for STEM Academy are only two of many HISD schools that specialize in promoting STEM education. To learn more about other STEM schools, visit www.houstonisd.org/schoolchoice.