The John Carroll School in Bel Air and research and development company Battelle signed a memorandum of understanding Monday afternoon in support of the school's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy.
Richard J. O'Hara, president of John Carroll, and Dean Ertwine, vice president of Battelle spoke to a modest group of students and faculty in the school's auditorium about what working together means for the school and students.
"This is a very special afternoon," O'Hara said, addressing the group.
As part of the memorandum of understanding, Battelle will offer John Carroll STEM Academy students internships, job shadowing opportunities and student research support in their junior and senior years.
In addition, John Carroll faculty and Battelle employees will work together to develop enhancements to curriculum in the classroom.
Such enhancements, O'Hara said, could include Battelle employees teaching "certain components" in a STEM classroom or students going to Battelle's Eastern Science and Technology Center in Aberdeen for hands-on experience.
"We anticipate that our students will be inspired by their applications in the work place," he said, "
John Carroll's STEM Academy launched in September and aims to provide students with skills and knowledge in the field before entering colleges and universities with strong STEM programs.
The academy offers standard, honors and Advanced Placement classes that focus on all four STEM subjects, as well as teach students real world applications to prepare them for possible college majors and career options.
Students in the STEM Academy are eligible to receive a "diploma with distinction" in the field.
Describing the STEM Academy, O'Hara explained that it is a four-year course of study with a capstone project required during the senior year, which can be a research project, internship or job shadowing.
According to a news release from John Carroll, each year 99 percent of graduates of the school go on to a college or university. In addition, 55 percent of John Carroll alumni return to the Harford County region to live and work.
"This is the first of what we hope to be many more memorandums of understanding with businesses in Harford County," O'Hara said.
Battelle, a charitable trust, focuses on societal and economic impact, with laboratory and science technology management being one component of its mission. The company, which has research facilities all over the world, has had a major presence in Harford County for many years
Ertwine commented that several John Carroll graduates work for the organization and it "seemed like a perfect fit" to support the school.
After signing each copy of the memorandum, O'Hara and Ertwine sealed the deal with a handshake.