Kentucky STEM Program Solves Math Problem

Academy turns out STEM skills achievers.

Kevin Litwin
On Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 10:22

The stereotype that girls don’t like math and science has been squashed at the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky.

The state-sponsored high school was established in 2007 on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green as a way for top high school juniors and seniors to take college-credit courses in the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

A total of 60 high school students – 30 girls and 30 boys – are chosen from a statewide application process to enroll as juniors at the academy each August.

“We have about 200 students apply each year for the 60 open spots, and more girls apply than boys,” says Corey Alderdice, Gatton Academy assistant director of admissions and public relations. “That helps to dispel the notion that girls aren’t interested in math and science.”

The 60 students who will ultimately graduate as seniors from the academy not only receive their high school diploma, but have also earned 60 to 70
college credits during their two years on campus.

“While enrolled during their two years at Gatton, students take their usual required high school classes along with four college courses in college math, five in science and three STEM electives,” Alderdice says. “The average ACT score for students who attend Gatton is 28.8 out of 36.”

Gatton Academy students are housed in a separate building on the WKU campus, with all tuition, housing and meals provided at no cost. In 2009, Newsweek magazine named Gatton one of the 16 elite public high schools in the United States.


Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.