Seventh grade students from Thornton Academy Middle School learned about opportunities for STEM careers on November 8 for Maine BioScience Day. Computer programmer Dave Libby from Fluid Imaging Technologies in Scarborough shared his educational and career path with the students while also describing the work he and his BioTech company do here in Maine. As a 1985 graduate of Thornton Academy, Libby was able to show TAMS students how their experiences in school today can lead to a successful career as an adult.
Dave Libby from Fluid Imaging Technologies poses with the FlowCam and Ryan Hersey and Craig Pendergrass, science teachers at TAMS, and Luke Williams, Aaron Bove, Claudia Pelletier, and Wanda Wang, seventh graders at TAMS.
Libby demonstrated Fluid Imaging Technologies’ FlowCam to the students. The FlowCam takes photographs of particles in a fluid as they flow through the machine. It allows scientists to quickly qualify and quantify the microorganisms in a sample. The FlowCam has many uses including: aquatic research, algae technology, oil and gas industry, and biomedical testing. Students loved seeing the photos of the microorganisms and asked many questions to understand how the instrument works.
TAMS students Trey Burgess and Luke Williams investigate the FlowCam after the presentation.
Students loved the presentation. They asked over 70 questions, ranging from asking about the photos of the microorganisms that Libby showed them, to asking about computer programming language, and what it was like to have a career as a computer programmer.
TAMS students Isabelle Levesque, Ella Marston and Alivia Faulkner investigate the PC board that goes inside the FlowCam.
Libby encouraged students to pursue varied classes and activities in school and suggested that they take chances to discover their true passions. He shared his own personal story, saying that when he was in elementary and middle school, he struggled as a student. It was only when he entered high school at Thornton Academy that he discovered computers, his true passion, with the help of mathematics teacher Dominic DiBiase. He told students that “you become obsessed, so that your obsession drives you to become better.”
Mr. Craig Pendergrass explains one of the components of the FlowCam to Hermayla Wilson.
TAMS students will have the opportunity to do BioScience research of their own this year when they complete a unit studying pond water using microscopes. They will identify microorganisms in water and classify them accordingly. The skills students learn at TAMS will benefit them at the high school. Thornton Academy students have access to extensive opportunities in STEM classes and the option to complete a partnership with the University of Maine that will allow them to enter the College of Engineering with Sophomore status.