Magnet programs in the public schools in Harford County, Maryland, give regular high school students an opportunity to focus their studies on an area of interest, the Aegis reports.
One of four magnet programs in Harford County is the Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences program at North Harford High School. It’s a career and technical education (CTE) program that gives students an opportunity to experience challenging science and technology coursework with an emphasis on career development and real-world application.
The program starts in ninth grade and is a partnership between the school district and the Harford County Agricultural Economic Advisory Board, the University of Maryland, and Harford Community College. About 75 new students start the program each year, a program that’s broken down into three separate strands: animal and equine science, plants science, and natural resources science.
Madisyn Vinyard specializes in the natural resources strand. “We have learned, through field experience, how to be scientists,” the Aegis quoted the University of Maryland-bound senior as saying. “Students are ahead of the game and are attending schools across the country pursing STEM-related interests.”
Those students who specialize in the animal sciences strand study comparative anatomy and physiology of farm animals as sophomores and animal management sciences as juniors, for example, along with a healthy dose of science and math courses that magnet students in all three strands get.
Senior projects for this and other magnet programs typically focus on individual student goals and future plans, putting them either in a work-based environment, a school-based practical learning activity, or an off-site research facility with a mentor.
Other magnet programs in the county include an International Baccalaureate program at Edgewood High School, the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen High School, and several CTE programs at Harford Technical High School.
The CTE programs range from nursing, agribusiness, automotive technology, and masonry, to computer-aided design and drafting, cyber security, and floral design. If you’re looking for something good to eat, the school even offers a magnet program in food prep.
And if you think that list is impressive, just be aware that the Science and Mathematics Academy at Aberdeen offers tracks in about 20 areas, including bacteriology, biochemistry, forensic chemistry, organic chemistry, and sports physiology.
Ananya Tripathi, a senior in the program, said she has “always been intrigued by the way the world works,” and the magnet program “has taught me how to ask the right questions” through scientific research and experiments. Her plans include majoring in biochemistry in preparation for med school.
“I am beyond excited,” she told school board members at a board meeting last month. “The SMA has helped me find exactly what I want to do with my life, and for that I am incredibly thankful.” She was especially happy about the mentor she worked with during her senior year. “These STEM professionals recognize the caliber of SMA students,” the Aegis quoted her as saying.