Because women have traditionally been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, SJA established the Andrea Clesi McMakin ’74 STEM Lab to provide cross-curricular, hands-on learning in a laboratory setting. Students work with a laser cutter and micro-computers and are able to bring their ideas to fruition using one of 20 3D printers, an unprecedented number on the high school level.
Innovation & Design Lab
Placing a premium on 21st century learning, SJA opened an Innovation and Design Lab in August 2016. The new lab offers cutting-edge, project-based learning to equip young women for success in college and beyond. The Innovation and Design model helps students develop critical-thinking, collaboration, creating and problem-solving skills. The lab is both a design space and a classroom where students utilize the design thinking methodology to design solutions to real-world problems. The six-step design process – identify, interpret, ideate, invent, implement and improve – draws on methods from engineering and design and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences and insights from the business world.
Since 2000, SJA has won 13 Region VII Louisiana Science and Engineering Fairs and eight Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fairs. As the result of their outstanding projects, science students are invited to present their original research at national and international competitions.
Every year since 1998, SJA has been represented at the prestigious Intel International Science & Engineering Fair. Our science fair coordinator, Linda Messina, received the 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
SJA girls enjoy demonstrating their understanding
of complex technology challenges through numerous competitions.
SJA’s Robotics Team competes each year in the FIRST Robotics Competition Bayou Regional. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, enabling students to compete head to head in designing, building and programming robots. In its first year of competition in 2015, the SJA team received the Rookie Inspiration Award, which celebrates a newly established team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers.
SJA students participate each year in the Global Game Jam®, the world’s largest game creation event, held over a 48-hour stretch at LSU. Our girls enjoy matching wits against thousands of students from countries around the world to create games while, at the same time, exploring the process of development, including programming, iterative design, narrative exploration and artistic expression.
In 2014, SJA students, faculty and staff participated in the Hour of Code, receiving a $5,000 grant from the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children. SJA won the high school award for the highest percentage of student participation in event. SJA’s “Whole School” effort was one of nearly 43,000 Hour of Code computer-programming initiatives held around the world during Computer Science Education Week.
Each year, St. Joseph’s Academy participates in the Louisiana High School Online Technology Challenge. The annual technology event, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe, recognizes students interested in demonstrating their creative use of technology and teamwork. Every high school in Louisiana is invited to enter a team of 15 students who work under the guidance of a designated coach. In 2017, SJA’s team finished third.
St. Joseph’s Academy has competed in the last three Shell STEM Showdown events, capturing first place in the 2015 and 2016 competitions. This year, the SJA team brought home a $3,500 award to enhance our STEM curriculum. The annual contest is part of the Great Minds in STEM program, which brings high school freshmen and sophomores together with college captains who are majoring in a STEM field.