STCC hoping to get recent high school grads interested in STEM field

Program formed in response to state's plan to invest in STEM fields

SPRINGFIELD Mass. (WWLP) -The next generation of western Massachusetts math teachers, engineers, and scientists are preparing for the challenges of entering college in the fall.

Building a suspension bridge might seem slightly out of season for these incoming students at Springfield Technical Community College, but it’s part of their passion for engineering.

Holyoke High School graduate Catherine Pater credits her interest in engineering to a course she took in physics.

“I never was a math person, but that class made me love math. I just enjoyed doing the experiments, I love the mathematics behind it,” Pater said.

The Massachusetts Department of Education is concerned that so many math teachers and engineers are nearing retirement age and will need equally passionate young people to replace them.

“It’s what I love to do,” Agawam High School graduate Quincy Butler said. “I’m teaching myself encoding, I’m teaching myself everything I can learn about computer security.”

At least one future engineer getting his feet wet building this suspension bridge hasn’t even graduated high school yet. For him, every minute counts.

“Well, I just want to learn more about the field of engineering and science and technology, I really want to get my basics here, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” said Ludlow Sophomore Lucas Soares.

The department of education hopes there are enough of these dedicated young people to step in when the thousands of engineers and educators soon bring their careers to an end.