Computer science offerings have been rising to meet demand at MDI High School. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Computer science interest expands

BAR HARBOR — Computer science offerings at Mount Desert Island High School (MDIHS) now include two courses, an independent study class with The Jackson Laboratory, a robotics team and more.

“Every aspect of modern life is touched by the use of computers,” teacher Megan McOsker said.

“A goal of the program is to ensure that there is greater access to opportunities in the many fields defined by computer science. At MDIHS, students can learn how to build and program robots, prepare for computational internships, learn the basics of web programming and go on to career and/or college with a solid high school preparation.”

MDIHS is one of a few schools in Maine offering the new Advanced Placement course AP Computer Science Principles and the only school in Maine using the AP CS50 curriculum, an adaptation of Harvard University’s Introduction to Computer Science course CS50. Also offered is a more general course, Exploring Computer Science.

McOsker has worked with Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and with Harvard University to bring these courses to MDI.

An additional course, Independent Studies in Computational Biology, is offered in conjunction with the Churchill Lab at the Jackson Laboratory. Students in this course learn the professional practice of scientific data analysis, including using the programming language R.

“When I first came to the high school, four years ago, there was a student petition to bring computer science to MDIHS,” McOsker said. “As the coordinator for our Jackson Lab internship program, I saw there were opportunities for students to pursue computational internships but that these opportunities were only available to those with some background in the field.”

The new courses are an attempt to fill that gap.

Contact McOsker at [email protected]

Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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