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Green Engineering Academy Prepares Graduates for 21st Century Careers

February 10, 2020 - Livermore, CA - For students in Livermore High School’s Green Engineering Academy (GEA), their diploma is a ticket to careers that build a better world, including engineering, architecture, renewable energy, sustainability, and energy-efficient manufacturing. GEA courses and opportunities prepare students for college, university, and jobs that are in high demand.

Since 2010, Livermore High School (LHS) has offered students a unique pathway - traveling through four years of high school as part of a cohort of students who share core courses (such as English, Social Studies, Science, and Math) as well as engineering courses, allowing them to learn and grow together. While still part of the larger high school and able to participate in elective programs including band, orchestra, art, and world languages as well as athletics, students in GEA enjoy an immediate sense of belonging. “The friendships I have made in the GEA have been close, and I wouldn’t have made them otherwise. I also really like the close connections with my teachers,” said Edwin Senecal, GEA Class of 2023.

The structure of the Green Engineering Academy includes field trips to real-world engineering sites such as Google, NASA, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Students are able to participate in internships, working alongside professionals and contributing to solutions of real-life problems and challenges faced by engineers. Dorothy Morallos, GEA engineering teacher, said, “One of the greatest strong suits of the GEA is the opportunity for students to have an out-of-the-box education that is innovative, exploratory, and relevant to the current needs of our local and greater community. This is really achieved through the collaborative nature of our program coupled with our project-based curriculum and varied community partnerships.”

Because the GEA is funded through a California Partnership Academy grant, students have access to state-of-the-art tools to support their learning. “The GEA freshmen love using the 3D printer and laser cutter for their projects,” said Karen Fletcher, GEA engineering teacher. “In the GEA, students learn skills that can be used in the workforce such as creative thinking, problem solving, and teamwork. It’s great to see their self-confidence grow each year.” 

GEA graduates are well-prepared for college as well as for pursuing technical careers. Jarret Baucke, GEA graduate and current student at Montana State University, said, “One of the things I really liked about the GEA was that it gave me the knowledge to use different modeling software that were really useful in my field of study (architecture).” Erin Rhee, LHS Class of 2019 and current UC Irvine student, said, “In GEA I learned modeling tools and applications such as SolidWorks that prepared me for my Intro to Engineering Classes in college.” 

Incoming 9th graders can learn more about GEA at the LHS Expo on Wednesday, February 19, from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. at Livermore High School, 600 Maple Street. More information is available online at livermoreschools.org/gea.