Our STEM program promotes hands-on learning and examines the innovations and challenges that are possible through the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We engage our students with a wide variety of courses and clubs that encourage collaboration, creativity, problem-solving and critical thinking. With state-of-the-art labs, 1:1 laptop program and our unique block system, students have the time and resources to delve deeply into their coursework.
Courses are taught with an inquiry-based model and promote an active learning style, achieved through group work and mentoring. Our capstone course is an honors scientific research lab that focuses on biotechnology technique and research. With this course, students will develop and conduct their own experiments and present those results to the community. With STEM and OSG offerings, there’s no limit for our students! Read the LA Times coverage of our honors scientific research class.
Honors Scientific Research Students Receive Grant Funding
In 2018, our students in Honors Scientific Research (aka “Scisearch”) were awarded three Archer STEM Research Grants, which is a STEM initiative sponsored by the Archer School for Girls on the west side. Over $20,000 was available through the merit-based application process; all of our girls submitted proposals and received funding, for a total of $5,500 awarded to FSHA. The institutional support from FSHA is the primary source of funding for our students’ projects. The outside funding made it possible to purchase a major analytical instrument and expensive reagents that extended the scope of the work proposed by these eight students.
Combating Antibiotic Resistance
Amelia Andrews, Michelle Liu and Genevieve Spiotto – “Thwarting Bacterial Communication: Curcumin’s Pathway-Specific Inhibitory Effects on Bioluminescence, Biofilm Formation and Motility in Vibrio harveyi”
Ellis DeJardin and Darcy Michero – “Silencing Bacterial Communication: The Inhibitory Effect of Quercetin on Quorum Sensing in Vibrio harveyi”
Deriving Transportation Fuel from Microalgae
Cate Doud, Lauren Risha and Claire Villegas – “Fueling the Future: Inducing Stress in Chlorella sorokiniana to Optimize Production of Microalgal Biofuels”
Our student researchers conducted the experiments over the spring semester and presented their findings at FSHA’s Senior Research Showcase and Archer STEM Symposium events in May.
Cynthia Hernandez ’18 and Amelia Andrews ’18 received national recognition by NCWIT with honorable mention awards, while Hope Sadahiro ’18 and Maddy Freeman ’20 received regional certificates of distinction. The Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women in grades 9 to 12, recognizing them for their computing-related aspirations and demonstrated interest in technology, solid leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. Over 3,000 other young women from all over the United States were honored this year.
Originally, I did not know what opportunities I could find in regards to computer science, so I am really grateful to Ms. Finley for including me in many computer science related activities this year. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me and countless girls at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy." —Hope Sadahiro
The awards and recognition give FSHA greater access to funding and resources through NCWIT.
8 Reasons to Explore a STEM Career According to a Girl
by Hannah Scott '17
As citizens of the digital age, our lives are increasingly dependent on technology— we cannot leave the house without our smartphones and if our WiFi connection is not strong enough, chaos ensues. However, the more we rely on our phones and computers, fewer people actually understand the principles that drive technology.
My journey from an oblivious consumer to a producer of software was unexpected and unique. It all started when I signed up for Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Robotics I class. Inspired by the popular TV series Grey’s Anatomy, I was convinced that I would pursue medicine and become the next Dr. Christina Yang. Hoping to further my knowledge of the human anatomy, I signed up for sports medicine for my sophomore year. I needed to pick another semester-long elective to complete my schedule, so I decided on robotics because I had heard there was no homework.
Having no experience in technology and being the only sophomore in a class of juniors and seniors made me extremely nervous about this class. To my surprise, I immediately fell in love with robotics— the freedom to control a robot I had built to do whatever I wanted it to was extremely freeing. After only a few weeks of this class, my aspirations for the future had completely changed. No longer do I want to be Meredith Grey— I want to follow in the footsteps of women like Grace Hopper, Ada Lovelace and Helen Greiner. I want to study computer science and become a social entrepreneur and software engineer, or someone who innovates technology to help others and effect global change.
The Code Crew is a community of students who wish to explore programming for web design, gaming, application development, robotics or just for the fun of it! It is open to all students at any skill level.
“Code Crew has empowered me to learn more programming languages, which will give me a head start in my computer science classes in college. It’s created a supportive environment for me to deepen my understanding of programming while encouraging others to do the same.” – Hannah Scott ’17
The Tech Team is a group of students who provide tech assistance throughout the school year and advise the faculty on tech issues from the student perspective.
Sponsored by the library, Tinker Thursdays occur after school. Interested students can attend for an opportunity to experiment with Little Bits (electronic building blocks), Arduino (open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software) and Tinkercad (3D design and printing app).
FSHA has an ongoing relationship with The Boeing Company to offer summer internships to rising seniors who are interested in exploring or gaining experience in science and engineering fields. The summer internships take place on site at Boeing's El Segundo campus over the course of eight weeks in June, July, and August. Students are matched with Boeing employee mentors and get individual training and attention and contribute to actual, ongoing engineering projects as part of the Boeing Engineering team. Internships are also flexible enough to accommodate other activities such as sports programs or family vacations.
Engineering at FSHA
Students in Mr. Buxman's engineering class were tasked with developing prototypes that solved some common problems.
Here we have two students demonstrating their automatic pancake flipping spatula.
Noticing that trash cans in cities are often overflowing, two students developed trashcan prototype that could release trash into an underground tank when full.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is an all girls' Catholic, Dominican, independent, college-preparatory day and boarding high school in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. Overlooking Pasadena, FSHA educates girls from Los Angeles, Southern California and around the world for a life of faith, integrity and truth.
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
440 St. Katherine Drive La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 High School Office: 626-685-8300 Admissions: 626-685-8521