Beyond AP to IT&E

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Dean Lloyd Griffiths greets students and their families


Robotics, evolutionary computation, wireless sensor networks—this isn’t a typical high school curriculum. But then again, these aren’t typical high school students. In January 2006, selected students from Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology began work on independent-study research projects with faculty members from the Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering (IT&E) in a first-of-its-kind program that offers these students college credit from Mason.

The students were paired with faculty members based on the students’ areas of interest, which range from computer-based systems design to multi-agent simulation. After successful completion of their projects, students will receive 1 college credit.

TJ, a Fairfax County Public School magnet school located in Alexandria, is also a Virginia governor’s school. Its students come from several school jurisdictions and are admitted based on their aptitude and interest in science and their intent to pursue the sciences, engineering, or related fields in college.

“For our students to participate in this initiative with the extraordinarily talented Mason faculty is a huge boost to our academic program,” says TJ assistant principal Douglas Tyson. “Mason is offering our students an opportunity that we couldn’t physically or fiscally provide for them at this time. We hope this partnership can serve as a model of the kind of synergy that can exist between high schools and universities to advance science, technology, engineering, and math.”