For Watervliet freshman, Melissa Mayo, the new Capital Region BOCES Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program is a prescription for high school, college and career success.
Mayo has long aspired to a career in medicine, but until P-TECH opened this school year she thought those dreams were out of reach.
“When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian and then I wanted to be a surgeon, but I never thought it was possible because I didn’t have the money to go to college,” she said.
Now, Mayo is exploring not only medicine, but virtual reality, computer science and a variety of other subjects in a program that will allow her to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in a high-tech field at no cost.
The P-TECH curriculum focuses on engaging students in hands-on, project-based learning to be successful in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and providing students with workplace skills that will ensure success, no matter the career path they are applied to. Through the program, business partners provide students access to cutting-edge technologies and innovations that allow them to see the real-world application of the knowledge they are gaining at P-TECH.
“I am learning computers and computer science here. I want to take that knowledge into a career in medicine and ultimately invent a technology that will help people with disabilities,” Mayo said. “I don’t know what that invention will be, but I have always dreamed of helping people with disabilities.”
“P-TECH is giving me a chance to go to college and follow my dreams to my dream job,” said Mayo.
And that is exactly the goal of P-TECH: helping students who in turn will use their skills to help others.
“Students like Melissa are what this program is all about. Engaging a student in a rigorous education and bringing into reach a goal they have had, but though was out of reach,” said P-TECH East Campus/Watervliet Principal Kurt Redman.