MMA Goes Full STEAM Ahead
Posted 04/17/2019 10:15AM

MMA's Science Week showcased the innovative work and studies of Merion Mercy students while simultaneously providing several ways for students to discover and explore several fields. Science Week incorporated various opportunities for hands-on learning as well, such as a visit from Terra Rose Genetics, an award-winning dairy farm located in South Jersey, and two of their top-pedigreed dairy cows. 

Science Week also seemed like the perfect time to recognize the numerous accolades MMA students recently earned in the academic disciplines of STEAM.

For the past several years, MMA has partnered with Lankenau Hospital through the Annenberg High School Science Symposium. The hallmark event of MMA's Physiology class, Annenberg annually showcases not only scientific research and analysis, but also creative abilities. Physiology students research a topic, write a paper, create a presentation, and then present the topic in a creative manner before a panel of medical professionals. This year, Physiology students Briana Lawimore '20, Alyane Wollery '20, Jenna Hamilton '19, Caitlin Cifaldi '19, Eliana Judge '21, and Suzanne Dupnock '20 presented "What is Memory?" at the 15th annual Annenberg High School Science Symposium. The presenting group won recognition for "Most Interactive Presentation." 

Merion Mercy students continued to stretch their minds in scientific and creative ways at this year's Greater Philadelphia SeaPerch Challenge. In this annual competition, sponsored by the US Department of the Navy, students design and build a remotely operated underwater vehicle that must maneuver an obstacle course and carry out an underwater mission.  This year's team of seniors Gabrielle Bass, Christina Croff, Lynn Foy, Megan Giarraputo, Bryn Spaide, and Victoria Steinmetz made an outstanding showing in the pool events, did a stellar job of answering judges' questions in the presentation event, and was awarded fourth place for their Engineering Design Notebook.   

The Engineering Design Notebook aspects of the competition rely on the students' abilities to effectively communicate the rationale behind their design and to record all aspects of the build process. Developed early in a Merion Mercy Academy education, these communication skills are an asset within the realm of industry, which heavily relies on experimental reproduction via a laboratory notebook.              

Juniors Emma Carter and Lauren Zarro received the Philadelphia Area National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing awards at a ceremony at the University of Pennsylvania. Emma received the Philadelphia Affiliate 2019 Rising Star Award at the ceremony; Lauren received the Philadelphia Area Affiliate Honorable Mention Award.

Continuing with this theme of innovation, freshman science students competed in the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition. This science competition encourages students of all grade levels to imagine what technology might be like in the future. This year, two teams received honorable mention for their innovative entries.  MMA is the only school in Pennsylvania to have any teams place for Honorable Mention in their grade level division.  The team of Nina Thompson, Monica Merenda, Cate Voegele, and Justine Medveckus developed the "Mobile ASL Translating Glove." The second award-winning team Emma Friel, Violet Lorei, and Maeve Hegarty originated the "Emergency Medical Services Band‐Aid."

As a school honor, Merion Mercy earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science Principles. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls' access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Merion Mercy is one of only 685 to accomplish this. 

Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science examinees meeting or exceeding that of the school's female population. Only 490 schools earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science Principles.

Merion Mercy knows there are many skills necessary to thrive in today's world. By providing opportunities to fuse disciplines and encouraging students to apply their knowledge in innovative ways, students can take greater ownership over their work and prepare for future studies and career opportunities in STEAM-related fields while exploring a wide range of information, thinking critically, and developing new interests and passions that will last a lifetime.

An independent, Catholic, all-girls college preparatory high school for grades 9-12
Merion Mercy Academy
511 Montgomery Avenue Merion Station, PA 19066
P (610) 664-6655
F (610) 664-6322
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