Indian Creek Alumni Share Their Wisdom with Current S.T.E.M. Students

The ICS Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S.T.E.M.) program welcomed back three alumni this week: Nicole Stark ‘14, Mark Thiergartner ‘17, and Elli Vickers ‘16. These three graduates gave up time during their respective winter breaks to talk to current CREEK students about their pursuit of college degrees in S.T.E.M. fields.

Ms. Stark is a senior at Widener University, double-majoring in Mechanical engineering and Biomedical engineering. She has completed two internships with the Department of Defense and plans on beginning a Masters in Biomedical engineering next year, also at Widener. Additionally, Ms. Stark has worked on a wide variety of design teams and is currently designing and building an automated walker for those with disabilities. She gave ICS S.T.E.M. students a lot of great advice about how to balance an incredibly large workload with other aspects of life, including how to get enough sleep!

Mr. Theirgartner is a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Physics and Computer Science. He is also part of the UMD Hyperloop Design Team, which competes in the annual Hyperloop Pod Competition. Run by SpaceX, this yearly challenge prompts competing teams to design and build a pod capable of (eventually) carrying humans through a near-vacuum tube at incredibly high speeds. Mr. Theirgartner’s main role on the team is to create and maintain the computer code for the project.

Ms. Vickers is a sophomore at Gettysburg College, majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Neuroscience (Pre-Veterinary track). She landed a position working doing research on biofilms in her first semester at Gettysburg and has continued to work in the same research group through her sophomore year. In particular, Ms. Vickers (and the professor with whom she works) studies two particular types of bacteria that work in tandem to create biofilms; they study the underlying genetic mechanisms for this behavior. Additionally, Ms. Vickers talked to the students about a wide variety of topics – how she studies effectively, why she went to Gettysburg, and the nitty-gritty scientific details of her research. She also gave some tips on getting undergraduate research jobs in the first place, which was especially interesting and useful for S.T.E.M. students. Finally, she talked a bit on her plans for graduate school. Her goal is to enter a program in which she can both become a certified veterinarian and do fundamental research in veterinary science.

The alumni visit was a fun and relaxed event, and ICS S.T.E.M. students asked some very on-point questions to Ms. Stark, Mr. Theirgartner, and Ms. Vickers. We thank them for so willingly sharing their time and stories!