XLR8, the new Governor’s STEM Academy launching next fall in Region 2000, has a new director. Susan Cash will begin her tenure in early January.
Cash has spent the last twenty years in various educational positions, most recently with Lynchburg City Schools. She has served as the division-wide career counselor and as a school counselor at Heritage High School. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in special education from James Madison University. Cash graduated from Lynchburg College in 2001 with a master’s of education degree in school counseling and earned a master’s of education in education leadership from Lynchburg College in 2012. She received the 2006 “Creating Excellence Award” from the Virginia Department of Education.
“My vision for the STEM Academy is to offer the students in Region 2000 who are interested in careers in the health science or the mechatronics fields an opportunity beyond the scope of normal high school curriculum to help prepare them for careers in the Region 2000 workforce,” says Cash. “I envision the STEM Academy as a way to raise student aspirations and attract more students to postsecondary education to help provide well-trained workers to meet the workforce needs of existing businesses and aid in the recruitment of new businesses and industries to Region 2000.”
XLR8 has been a joint effort by the Region 2000 Technology Council, Future Focus Foundation and Workforce Investment Board; Central Virginia Community College; the school divisions of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and Lynchburg; and area business partners, including AMTI, AREVA, The Babcock and Wilcox Company, Centra and Delta Star. XLR8 dovetails with current regional K-12 STEM activities and workforce development initiatives. The goal of this institution will be to help close the gap between education and industry, furthering the economic vitality of this region.
This type of STEM Academy differs from the Regional Governor’s School for Science and Technology in the type of curriculum and courses offered. STEM Academy courses will have a career and technical education focus with the curriculum driven by the needs and projected growth of regional industry. Currently the two identified student pathways to be offered at the academy include healthcare technologies and mechatronics; the latter being the blending of mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines.
XLR8 – Lynchburg Regional Governor’s STEM Academy will be located at Central Virginia Community College in the AREVA Technology Center, which includes access to lab equipment and classroom space.
The curriculum will have a dual enrollment element offering students the opportunity to earn college credits. This will allow students the option to work toward a college degree. Industry certifications may be developed, allowing for job readiness upon completion of the program. Transfer possibilities for students wishing to continue their education will also be established.