PICKENS COUNTY — A new program available for Pickens County students beginning with the 2016-17 school year will afford them the opportunity fast track for an engineering degree and a head start on college.
Originated through the S.C. Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics, the new Accelerate program will be available to qualified students. The program is designed to build “a student’s interest and capacity in the field of engineering as the student earns college credit from Clemson University in basic engineering courses.”
Advantages to the program include convenience for students in high schools within the School District of Pickens County.
SDPC officials see the availability of Accelerate as a plus.
“This is a game-changer for students who are serious about becoming engineers,” said Lori Gwinn, SDPC’s director of secondary education. “Our students can continue to enjoy all of the benefits of school life at our high schools — band, athletics, student government — while taking engineering classes through the Governor’s School. It’s a win-win.”
The classes are designed to be taken via the internet and teleconferencing, enabling students to interact with instructors and other students and have access to recorded lessons for review.
SDPC students who complete the program can receive up to 40 credit hours depending on their college choice and major following graduation.
Dr. Jonathan R.A. Maier of the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University spoke to the opportunities the program opens for students:
“These students can enter our engineering program at Clemson a year ahead of their peers, and can use that time to explore internship and co-op opportunities, study abroad, pursue a minor, or begin a graduate degree, all while on a 4-year scholarship, provided that they qualify for one,” said Maier, lead engineering instructor for the program.
The Accelerate program is open to students in grades 10 through 12 who have successfully completed Algebra I prior to the beginning of ninth grade, and who project successful completion of Algebra ll by the end of ninth grade. Admission requires an application.
Consideration for acceptance in the program is based on a student’s GPA, course grades or transcripts, standardized test scores, extracurricular and volunteer activities, teacher and guidance counselor recommendations, a written essay, and a mathematics assessment.
The S.C. Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics will begin taking applications in the fall. Parents or students interested in the program should talk to their school’s guidance counselor or call Lori Gwinn at 864-397-1014 for more information.
Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.