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School gets donation from Cabell Huntington Hospital

SOUTH POINT — The Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School got a major boost for its four-year biomedical program last week.

Cabell Huntington Hospital CEO Kevin Fowler and Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dennis Lee were at the school last Wednesday, where they presented founding director Jayshree Shah with a check to go toward the Project Lead the Way classes.

“It was just under $35,000,” lead teacher Alicia Spears said. “They funded the program for all four years.”

Spears said the funds will pay for supplies for the program, to be used in labs by the students.

Spears said, this year, students will be doing toxicology, fingerprinting, blood typing, hair and blood spatter analysis.

“They will also find out how to do DNA fingerprinting,” Spears said. “They’ll be doing alger plates and growing their own bacteria cultures. One of things we want to do is 3-D printing, where they can make different body parts and systems and see how they function.”

The school has 24 students in the biomed program, which Spears said is designed to “get students on track for careers in medicine.”

Students focus on subjects such as anatomy and forensic studies and go on to study genetics, cloning and biotechnology in their junior and senior year.

“They learn about advances in medicine, like prosthetics,” Spears said.

She said the Cabell Huntington’s support of the school will not be limited to just donations and is not just funding.

“The hospital will be helping us expose the students to careers across the spectrum of bio-medical applications,” Spears said. “And we will be blending the biomedical curriculum with engineering applications. “

She said Cabell Huntington and Marshall Medical will be participating in the school’s Healthy Heart fair on Feb. 12 from 5-7 p.m., which will offer general health screenings and have career opportunities for students to explore.

Spears said many of the students have medical school mentors.

“This partnership allows students to meet real, working professionals and solidify their career choices and pathway to college,” Spears said. “The higher education and business partners strengthen the students’ entire experience.”

Spears said all of the biomedical students are working on a statewide design challenge called “Healthy Heart Challenge.”

“Our school competes against the other STEM high schools across the state,” she said. “Their projects must have a community impact.”

The STEM+M school is a public school and opened to its first class in August. It offers programs in medicine, engineering and technology beginning in the ninth grade.