Sandy Creek High School STEM students visit aquarium

Students from Sandy Creek High’s STEM Academy observe the maintenance and breeding area of the coral reef habitat. Pictured, from left, are Kendall Mack, Karania Benton, Miles Bouknight, Emliy Haygood, and Zack Bonser. Photo / FCBOE

Students in Sandy Creek High School STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Academy, a program designed to make today’s students into tomorrow’s professionals in science and technology, got a behind the scenes look at how STEM is used everyday by the staff at the Georgia Aquarium to care for and maintain the marine life and facilities.

A group of 42 Sandy Creek High School STEM students and gifted students got a first-hand look at the behind the scenes operation of the aquarium, realizing that there is more to maintaining the facility than simply caring for the marine life that lives there.

In addition to professionals schooled in the areas of marine biology and veterinary medicine, the students learned that it also takes engineers, computer science personnel, and chemists to keep the infrastructure that supports the multiple aquatic environments operating properly.

“The students got to see the operational side, which is not open to the public. They came to understand the diversity of careers associated with the Georgia Aquarium,” says William Bryan, German teacher and member of the STEM Academy.

Sandy Creek High School students learned that challenges such as creating and maintaining a saltwater environment 200 miles inland, monitoring the health of aquatic species, and handling a 4,000-pound marine creature in need of surgery can be solved by those who have been trained in STEM.