Press Release - Class of 2020 Completes Accelerate, GSSM’s Virtual Engineering Program

June 5, 2020

Class of 2020 Completes Accelerate, GSSM’s Virtual Engineering Program

Hartsville, SC ─ Twenty-three students in the fifth graduating class of Accelerate, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics’ (GSSM) virtual engineering program, received their certificates of completion on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

These students represent eleven South Carolina high schools: James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan, Easley High School in Easley, Greenville Senior High School in Greenville, Lexington High School in Lexington, Liberty High School in Liberty, North Augusta High School in North Augusta, River Bluff High School in Lexington, South Aiken High School in Aiken, South Pointe High School in Rock Hill, White Knoll High School in Lexington, and York Comprehensive High School in York.

The 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 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.”


Founded in 1988, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics is a nationally recognized school serving over four hundred of the state's most accomplished STEM students in the 10th through 12th grades through its residential and virtual programs. GSSM offers college-level courses and experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at its campus in Hartsville. The school also delivers virtual curricula in engineering and STEM disciplines to students in partner school districts throughout the state. GSSM’s dynamic outreach programs, including science summer camps and teacher training, impact over 5,000 K-12 students every year. Learn more by visiting

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