Proctor's STEM Academic Concentration allows students with a passion for the sciences, tech, engineering and/or math to put it all together. Camden Fletcher has the honor of completing the first Proctor Academic Concentration in the STEM track and he did an incredible job. Not only did he achieve specific target competencies but he did so in spite of seemingly endless COVID challenges.
The nature of an Academic Concentration requires students to develop and then harness skills in project management. The timing and materials needed as well as collaboration with mentors and other experts on this particular project stand out extraordinarily. Camden really leveraged authentic communication and time management to work through COVID complications and complete his concentration this winter so he could enjoy his final spring semester off campus with Mountain Classroom. Way to go Camden! What you see and read below are excerpts from various aspects of Cam’s concentration including the exit interview with his review committee, written narrative reflection and a short video Camden made for public demonstration at his final all-school assembly.
Overview of Cam’s Concentration Capstone:
Camden aspires to study computer science in college after graduating from Proctor, and is excited to have the opportunity to pursue a STEM concentration and create a unique capstone project. His goal for this project was to design a drone using CAD (Computer Assisted Design) and Arduino (a minicomputer). Once it was printed out on a 3-D printer, he programmed using Arduino’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment) in order to have the drone function via a remote controller.
Advice from Camden to other Concentration Students:
“Start early and really focus...keep at your work and you will get there.”
What will you take away from the Concentrations experience?
“This showed me what I can do with time, energy and education, and really got me thinking about what else I can do.”
What was one highlight of your concentration experience: either Academic, Experiential, or the Capstone?
“Definitely taking the classes in game design and virtual reality like the video below shows.”
The academic concentration program aims to incorporate academic work across all disciplines - no matter which of the five focus areas is selected. In his Narrative Reflection, Camden writes this about the interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, “I have realized that I am a stronger innovator when I approach problems in a holistic manner with consideration from multiple disciplines. This insight into my learning process has cultivated not only my desire to complete a STEM Concentration at Proctor, but it has also inspired me to study STEM at the college level.”
Feedback from Camden’s Concentration Committee
Academic Concentration Coordinator Tom Morgan notes, “Having seen every concentration so far, I can say this was top notch, Camden. You are the first STEM concentration and you set a very high bar. Congratulations.” AP Computer Science Instructor Spencer Corkran ‘09 adds, “I was excited to see in your reflection that you appreciated the naming conventions in the code. Your exposure to a professional level software library for this project gave you insight into the importance of naming variables intuitively. As you leave Proctor and join the larger programming community, this lesson will be critical in ensuring others can utilize and build off of your work."
AC Program Overview
A rigorous and flexible program for the self-motivated Proctor Student, Academic Concentrations combine standard coursework, extracurricular engagement on campus or elsewhere, self-defined and assessed competency targets and a culminating capstone project or research paper. Students who elect to take on a concentration choose one of five focus areas: environmental studies, global citizenship, social justice, STEM, or creative studies and develop an individual plan with a mentor and their Academic Concentration committee.