Creating a Relevant, Application-Based Curriculum for High Performance Computing in High School

While strides have been made to improve science and math readiness at a college-preparatory level, some key fundamentals have been left unaddressed that can cause students to turn away from the STEM disciplines before they find their niche [10], [11], [12], [13]. Introducing collegiate level research and project-based, group-centered learning at a high school level has a multi-faceted effect; in addition to elevated learning outcomes in science and math, students exhibit improved critical thinking and communication skills, leading to improved preparedness for subsequent academic endeavors [1]. The work presented here outlines the development of a STEM ecosystem where both the science department and math department have implemented an interdisciplinary approach to introduce a spectrum of laboratory and computing research skills. This takes the form of both "in situ," micro-curricular elements and stand-alone research and computer science classes which integrate the language-independent concepts of abstraction and object-oriented programming, distributed and high-performance computing, and high and low-level language control applications. This pipeline has been an effective tool that has allowed several driven and interested students to participated in collegiate-level and joint-collegiate projects involving virtual reality, robotics and systems controls, and modeling. The willingness of the departments to cross-pollinate, hire faculty wellversed in research, and support students and faculty with the proper resources are critical factors in readying the next generation of computing leaders.