First Biomedical Science Pathway Class Graduates from El Segundo High School

The Biomedical Pathway at El Segundo High School (ESHS) is ideal for students who are interested in science and/or the medical fields. Students take one class per year that is specifically dedicated to biomedical science. The curriculum is outlined as follows: Year 1 – Principles of Biomedical Science; Year 2 – Human Body Systems; Year 3 – Medical Interventions; and Year 4 – Biomedical Innovations. The first year begins with biology and anatomy with the curriculum advancing each year into other science disciplines.

The Biomedical Science Pathway is made possible through funding from the El Segundo Educational Foundation and Murad, Inc. Murad, Inc. provided funding to build the Biomedical Science lab at ESHS, as well as for equipment and materials. In addition, the curriculum is supported by the El Segundo Unified School District’s partnership with Project Lead the Way (PLTW). The pathway uses PLTW’s Biomedical Science curriculum, which is designed to allow students to investigate the roles of biomedical professionals as they study the concepts of human medicine, physiology, genetics, microbiology, and public health. Each course in the Biomedical Science sequence builds on the skills and knowledge the students gain in the preceding courses.

ESHS 2016 graduate Mikyla Pirsztuk is heading to Purdue University this fall to major in medical laboratory science. She is one of 22 ESHS graduates from the inaugural class of Biomedical Science Pathway. Pirsztuk is considering a future career in either medical research or within the pharmaceutical industry. “A unique benefit of the Biomedical Pathway in high school is the exposure to different lab techniques, such as how to do bacterial smears, and ways to approach research projects,” said Pirsztuk. “Most college freshmen have not yet been exposed to in-depth research techniques. Having this experience as a high school graduate is a big advantage.”

Throughout their participation in a pathway, students are able to explore different careers and determine if a specific pathway is a good fit. Pirsztuk completed internships in both the chiropractic and veterinary fields. “Being a student in the Biomedical Pathway helped me get internships relative to my field of interest and also gave me a boost in my science orientation,” she said.

Pirsztuk’s classmate, Taylor Armijo, shares her friend’s passion for biomedical science. Armijo will display her talents in both the laboratory and on the playing field at St. Lawrence University in New York this fall where she as recruited to the softball team. Armijo is a neuroscience major who plans

to attend medical school, become a doctor and specialize in anesthesiology. “I love science,” said Armijo. “I’m excited to further apply the knowledge and techniques I learned in the Biomedical Pathway and build upon that knowledge at the university level. At St. Lawrence, I look forward to focusing my studies more on the brain and neuroscience.”

The Biomedical Pathway offers ESHS students the opportunity to create their own research experiments. The class of 2016 developed an experiment using nanotech (micro robots inside the body) research aimed at the development of new cures for diseases. The next step would be to build a prototype to prove the feasibility of the research, which is beyond the scope of the curriculum and available resources. However, the students are learning the viable steps in extensive research that can be applied to real-world situations. The curriculum also incorporates viewing of TED Talks, which the students said really helped to ignite class discussions and advanced situational application for their learning.

El Segundo High School established four linked learning pathways in 2012 to engage and motivate students by connecting challenging academics to demanding career and technical education. Students may opt in as freshman and the four Pathways currently offered at ESHS include Biomedical Science, Engineering, Business, and Visual and Performing Arts. Pathways are programs of high school study that connect learning in the classroom with real-world applications outside of school and are linked to in-demand industry sectors.

Growing evidence shows that pathways hold promise for increasing academic achievement and learning, reducing high school drop-out rates, and increasing students’ earning power when they graduate. Pathways also challenge students with rigorous college-preparatory curriculum that meet the eligibility requirements for application to public colleges and universities.

Incoming ESHS students are briefed regarding pathway options at the incoming student orientation and may opt to enroll in a pathway course during the registration process. Students may try a pathway for one year and the next year choose a different pathway if they find it does not meet their future goals or interests. However students must complete all four pathway courses sequentially in order to be eligible to wear the pathway sash at graduation as outlined by Board Policy. For more information on Project Lead the Way, please visit www.pltw.org.

July 27, 2016