New Hanover County Schools





Students interested in the STEM Academy program can apply to the pre-STEM program in 9th or 10th grade.

The pre-STEM program encompasses required honors-level academic coursework, computational thinking skills, science and engineering practices through STEM seminars. Interested rising sophomores from New Hanover County who meet the pre-STEM prerequisites can apply through the New Hanover Signature school’s application in January.


Pre-STEM Experience

Team Building and Leadership Experience
Students will participate in STEM Clubs and competitions.  Students will participate in STEM outreach and service projects such as volunteering in Elementary and Middle School STEM nights.
Sample of Pre-STEM Coursework
  • Honors English I, II
  • Honors Math I, II III (Honors Pre-Calculus, AP Pre-Calculus)
  • Honors Earth and Environmental (or AP ENV after Chemistry) or Honors Biology (May take Honors Chemistry if taking Honors Math III)
  • Honors World History or Honors Civics or Honors Civics Fall & AP Human Geography, AP US History)
  • Health /PE
  • STEM Electives (1 MUST be a STEM Elective)
    •  Pre-engineering: PLTW Intro to Engineering, Principles of Engineering, Drafting
    • Pre-Biochemical Science –Health Science I, II, Astronomy


STEM Academy
Team Building and Leadership Experience
Members will gain leadership experience by organizing and leading various school and community events.   Key events are listed below:
  • Laney High School STEM night
  • Parent Information night
  • Elementary and Middle School Outreach
  • Academic tutoring
  • Volunteering at the Science Olympiad Regional Competition

STEM Academy Coursework

Students accepted into the STEM Academy choose one of two pathways: Engineering or Biochemical Sciences. Students have several options that align with their pathway interest.
  • Honors English III, IV, AP Language and Composition
  • Honors Precalculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Statistics
  • Honors American History I or AP US History or AP World History
  • Honors or AP Physics, Honors Biology II and AP Biology, Honors Chemistry II, AP Chemistry
  • Honors Anatomy and Physiology, Honors Biotechnology, Organic Chemistry , Nursing Fundamentals, Marine Science, Oceanography 
  • Engineering Courses:  Introduction to Engineering, Engineering Essentials, Aerospace Engineering, Drafting I, II, III, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Engineering Design and Development


Fieldwork, Research, and Academic Competitions

Students in the STEM Academy will be offered opportunities to gain authentic field experience. 

  • Internships, mentorships, and job shadowing based on pathways
  • Field research – citizen science or local academic institutions
  • Academic Competitions - Students in the STEM Academy will partner with cohort members to compete in at least one academic competition.