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STEM Education Academy

The STEM Education Academy at Southwest Miami Senior High School prepares high school students to pursue careers as scientists and educators through a rigorous, science-focused dual enrollment curriculum, learning experiences at FIU science facilities, and a path to STEM education degrees.


Students in the STEM Education Academy learn science by doing science, beyond the traditional high school classroom. They have an opportunity to engage in meaningful learning experiences at FIU science facilities on the Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC), Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC) and beyond, including:

Stocker AstroScience Center, MMC

Learn how to conduct astronomical observations and research on objects ranging from nearby solar systems to distant galaxies. This fully-equipped, modern observatory and teaching and research center houses South Florida’s only research-grade telescope.

Florida Keys & Me, Islamorada

Examine the sensitive ecosystems of the Florida Keys, track the native plants that repopulate an area after invasive species are removed using the iNaturalist app, and test water for dangerous microscopic plastics using the Microplastic Awareness Project.

Seine Fishing, BBC

Deploy a seine net from the Biscayne Bay shoreline to catch juvenile fish that inhabit the mangrove habitat. Be a scientist for the day, recording biotic and abiotic measurements including IDing fish species, taking length measurements and testing salinity.

Mangrove Shorelines Environmental Cleanup, BBC

Work along the mangrove shoreline to remove marine debris, collect mangrove propagules and remove invasive plant species. Record data on the debris you collect using NOAA Marine Debris Data Sheets.

Wall of Wind, FIU Engineering Center

The Wall of Wind Experimental Facility enables researchers to better understand wind effects on civil infrastructure systems and to prevent wind hazards from becoming community disasters. It is powered by a combined 12-fan system capable of repeatable testing in up to 157 mph wind speeds.

Meet FIU Scientists

Meet faculty and graduate students and learn about their STEM research.

The Stocker AstroScience Center telescope

A group of students on the shore catches fish with a large seine net

FIU Wall of Wind: Twelve powerful fans stacked two high in the open doorway of the building

FIU scientists in a lab handle specimens in jars

Benefits of the Academy

Students in the STEM Education Academy will:

  • Complete a STEM-focused dual enrollment curriculum
  • Earn 29-32 college credits, free of tuition and fees, while in high school
  • Get a head start on the college experience
  • Participate in FIU student activities
  • Receive guidance from FIU academic advisors and admissions representatives
  • Visit FIU science facilities such as the Aquarius Reef Base and Stocker AstroScience Center
  • Engage in hands-on science research experiences at FIU Modesto Maidique Campus
  • Have access to FIU libraries and resources
  • Be eligible for undergraduate scholarship funding
  • Earn a degree with multiple career options
  • Qualify for preferred employment opportunities with M-DCPS

Terms and conditions apply

Students use protractors in a lab class


STEM Education Academy students are prepared to pursue an FIU bachelor's degree in one of the following subjects:

Sample Curriculum

Subject to change

Grade Semester Course Course Description (subject to change) Credits
9 Fall SLS 1510 Strategies for Success 3
Spring DEP 2000 Human Growth and Development 3
10 Fall EDF 1005 Introduction to Education 3
Spring EDF 2085 Teaching Diverse Populations 3
11 Fall MAC 1105 College Algebra (appropriate score on placement exam required) 3
Spring MAC 1147 Pre-calculus Algebra and Trigonometry (prerequisite: MAC 1105) 3
Summer BSC 3941 Biological Sciences Research Internship at FIU MMC campus (transportation to FIU is required) 3
Optional Elective One DE course from the list of approved courses (optional) 3
12 Fall CHM 1045 and CHM 1045L General Chemistry I with Lab 4
Spring GLY 1101 and GLY 1101L History of Life with Lab 4


In order to participate in the STEM Education Academy, students must:

  1. Be recommended for admission by a school administrator in 8th grade
  2. Have a 3.0 unweighted high school GPA (based on high school courses taken in middle school)
  3. Demonstrate college readiness by achieving the minimum required scores on the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test
  4. Complete the FIU STEM Education Academy application and consent form
  5. Meet any additional criteria set by FIU as the post-secondary institution

After being admitted to the STEM Education Academy, students must:

  1. Maintain a 3.0 GPA or better in FIU college-level work
  2. Successfully complete the Academy dual enrollment courses
  3. Comply with the FIU Student Code of Conduct

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Learn More About the Academy

    Is admission to FIU guaranteed to STEM Education Academy students?

    Future admission to FIU as a degree-seeking student is selective and is not guaranteed via participation in the STEM Education Academy. Prospective students must apply to FIU and meet all FIU admission requirements.

    Do I still need to take the SAT/ACT to attend FIU?

    Prospective students planning to attend FIU as a freshman must meet the minimum college readiness test scores on either the SAT or ACT, as established by the Board of Governors.

    Are STEM Education Academy students guaranteed a scholarship to FIU?

    FIU will provide scholarship funding to eligible students in an amount equal to the cost of tuition and fees not otherwise covered by financial aid. Eligible students must have met all of the following criteria:

    1. Successfully complete the STEM Education Academy dual enrollment curriculum
    2. Apply and be admitted to FIU as a full-time, degree-seeking student
    3. Apply for financial aid and meet all requirements for attainment of financial aid, including completing the FAFSA. Students should also apply for Bright Futures and RaiseMe.
    4. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen. Students who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") may qualify for a non­resident tuition waiver (see HB851) but are not considered for federal financial aid, state scholarship programs or FIU scholarships.
    5. Select one of the following STEM education majors: Biology Education; Chemical Education; Earth Science Education; Mathematics Education; or Physics Education.
    6. Upon entry to FIU, remain enrolled continuously as a full-time, degree-seeking student until successfully completing the baccalaureate degree in a STEM education major, per FIU undergraduate catalog

    What is the FAFSA?

    The FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — is the form that families fill out to apply for all kinds of financial aid including, federal grants, loans, and work-study funds for current and prospective college students. Completing the FAFSA is a requirement for attainment of financial aid and for eligibility for scholarship funding available to students in the STEM Education Academy.

    What is RaiseMe?

    Since 2015, FIU has offered high school students the ability to earn micro-scholarships on RaiseMe for academic excellence and extracurricular involvement. Students could earn up to $2,500 per academic year. More than 100,000 high school students across the state of Florida are currently signed up for RaiseMe, with high school seniors earning an average of $5,300 toward their FIU tuition.

    What is dual enrollment?

    Dual enrollment gives students the opportunity to take college-level courses while still earning their high school diploma. Classes are offered during the regular high school academic year and follow the same academic calendar. Courses are taught either by a high school instructor who has been credentialed by FIU, or by an FIU faculty member.

    What other opportunities are available?

    FIU graduates who accept a STEM teaching position at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, are successfully employed in that position for one year, and renew their employment contract for the following year are eligible to receive a scholarship to fund six credits of graduate studies at FIU for every year of employment thereafter, for up to three years or 18 graduate credits (terms and conditions apply). Graduate admission to FIU is selective and is not guaranteed via participation in the STEM Education Academy.