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The key acronym for today’s students is STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Dana Maloy, 17, of Leland, a senior at North Brunswick High School, says she has a passion for STEM classes, specifically science and more specifically biology.

“I plan on pursuing a biomedical engineering degree on the pre-med track in college,” she shares.

Dana MaloyThe dictionary defines biomedical engineering as applying engineering techniques to understanding biological systems and the development of therapeutic technologies and devices such as pacemakers, artificial joints and prostheses.

Maloy’s stamina is amazing because she not only takes AP (advanced placement) chemistry and AP statistics at NBHS, but she also takes AP U.S. history and AP psychology through N.C. Virtual Public School. But that’s not all. She is enrolled as an online student at North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the prestigious two-year STEM school in Durham.

“I am extremely honored to have been accepted to the online program,” she says.

Through NCSSM she has taken epidemiology, introduction to computational science, molecular genetics, forensics, radio telescope astronomy and cosmic waves. Currently, she is taking biomedical engineering. She spent a weekend recently at NCSSM where the biomedical engineering assignment was to build a shoe. Among the characteristics of a shoe the students had to consider were its function, traction and flexibility.

“This was the first actual biomedical product I had ever made, and I loved the challenge,” Maloy says.

“Dana is an outstanding student,” writes Todd Roberts, Ed.D., Chancellor of NCSSM, and adds that she has taken seven online courses over her two years as an NCSSM student and is a very involved student.

Despite this rigorous course of study, Maloy finds time to be a Novant Health Junior volunteer, First Tee lead coach and Eagle participant, senior class vice president of student government, science Olympiad member and online ambassador for NCSSM.

“I go to Discovery Days and Welcome Days to talk to students about the program,” Maloy says. “Also, I have been a student presider twice for the Ethics and Leadership Conference that they hold.”

Maloy’s older brother, Ethan, did not attend NCSSM but is studying electrical and mechanical engineering in the Two Plus Two program with UNCW and NC State. Their parents are Coarine [CQ] and Benjamin Maloy.

NCSSM, which became part of the University of North Carolina System in 2007, was founded in 1980 and was the first public, residential school in the U.S. emphasizing science and math. IN 1988 it helped found what became the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools. The term STEM came into common use around 2008. That same year NCSSM added an online component for those who could continue at their local schools without moving to Durham. Its 2017-18 enrollment is 680 resident students, the maximum the school holds. The online student enrollment is 360 students. Students represent 94 of the 100 N.C. counties. The class of 2017 had 91 National Merit Finalists, surpassing the 2016 total of 75.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that STEM occupations are growing at 17 percent while other occupations are growing at 9.8 percent. Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that STEM jobs are projected to increase from 2012 to 2022 by more than nine million, an increase of one million jobs over 2012 employment levels.

Information from the U.S. Department of Education states that success is not only determined by what students know but what they can do with what they know. They need knowledge and skills to solve problems, gather and evaluate evidence and make sense of all this information. They can accomplish these goals through STEM classes. A graph at www.ed.gov/stem shows that an increase in jobs for biomedical engineers will increase by 62 percent from 2010-2020. Dana has chosen a field that shows a need.

Taxpayers provide $20 million each year to cover operating expenses of NCSSM. The school considers standardized test scores, specifically in math and science, for acceptance.

“I find the way the human body works is incredibly interesting,” Maloy says. “I think that its ability to care for itself, in more ways than one, is just fascinating.”

She will enter Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts after she graduates from NBHS.

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