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Class of 2017 Completes Accelerate, GSSM’s Virtual Engineering Program

May 23, 2017

The students in the second graduating class of Accelerate, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics’ (GSSM) virtual engineering program, received their certificates of completion on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at the Capitol City Club in Columbia.  

The students represent six South Carolina high schools: Academy for Arts, Science and Technology in Myrtle Beach, J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, Lexington High School in Lexington, River Bluff High School in Lexington, Summerville High School in Summerville, and White Knoll High School in Lexington.

Congratulations to:

  • James Brock, Summerville High School
  • Johnny Clemens, White Knoll High School
  • Ethan Coppenbarger, J.L. Mann High School
  • Michael Cox, J.L. Mann High School
  • Cole Curran, J.L. Mann High School
  • Justin Hough, Summerville High School
  • Charles Key, J.L. Mann High School
  • Seth Kurtz, Lexington High School
  • Frances Laughlin, The Academy for Arts, Science and Technology
  • Austin Rich, Lexington High School
  • Milan Shah, J.L. Mann High School
  • Hoy Sigmon, White Knoll High School
  • Robert Smith, J.L. Mann High School
  • Kyle Williams, Lexington High School
  • Sydney Womack, River Bluff High School

The recognition and completion ceremony was designed to celebrate their achievements and successful completion of this one-of-a-kind, three-year engineering program.

Originally launched with private support, Accelerate is currently funded through the South Carolina General Assembly and corporate partnerships. The program emphasizes mastery of the foundational tools of engineering, such as physics, calculus and chemistry, but also places significant emphasis on real-world, team-based projects, creativity and communication. 

These Accelerate students completed a formal application process to be invited into the program and have spent the last three years taking online interactive video conferencing classes, as well as participating in Saturday Experiences, science labs, and annual week-long summer camps. The seniors end the program with a presentation of their engineering capstone project; many of which address some of the the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering for the 21st Century. 

“This is quite an accomplishment for these young men and women. They have worked very hard over the past three years”, said Dr. Ershela Sims, GSSM Vice President for Accelerate Engineering.  “Their senior projects were a remarkable display of the application of the engineering knowledge they have gained throughout the program and I look forward to hearing great things from them in the future.

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