Since commencing in the Fall of 2018, the new ASMS Development Department team, Director Dr. Samantha Church and Coordinator Carla Norris, have raised over $40,000 for campus updates. The facility updates, like DeBakey Hall, have been executed for the benefit of the outstanding students and faculty of ASMS.
DeBakey Hall is a lecture classroom on the first floor of the Humanities building on the ASMS campus. The hall has been refurbished, so that instructors, like Dr. Mitch Frye, can instruct in a reliable and modernized environment.
“With the new seats, carpet, and paint, DeBakey is much more welcoming and professional,” says Dr. Frye. “It looks like a handsome auditorium on a university campus now, and that matches the college-like atmosphere we already convey through our academics.”
The Development Department has been assisting instructors in other ways, such as securing grant funding for their classrooms, including for new laptops and 3D printers.
A grant that the ASMS Development Department is aiming to secure funding for currently is from the Community Foundation of South Alabama. If awarded, this grant will be used for scholarships to the 2020 AIMS Summer Camp, assisting families who want to send their academically motivated student to a camp full of adventures in Math and Science.
“In 2009, the state appropriation to the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science was drastically reduced as a result of the national recession,” says Dr. Church. “Just this year – 2019, our appropriation has returned to the pre-recession level. Funding from private sources such as Ingalls Shipbuilding, The Crampton Trust, J.L. Bedsole Foundation, and our individual supporters – alumni, parents, and friends – has been and will continue to be critical in our mission to provide students with the very best education in the state of Alabama.”
By progressively moving forward the Development Department aims to help expand ASMS’s imagination for its students. A forthcoming goal is a maker-space on the West Campus. The plans are to renovate a part of West Campus’s storage facility into a multi-disciplinary hands-on maker-space.
A maker-space is a collaborative workspace inside a school for making, learning, exploring, and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools. These spaces prepare those who need critical 21st-century skills in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“A maker-space at ASMS will merge well with the curriculum that is already established,” says Norris. “Our students could further engage in critical thinking, and innovative ideas, as they focus on real-world applications of problem-solving.”
The maker-space is a necessary improvement to the campus’s repertoire, and so is new Audio/Visual (AV) equipment in the Auditorium on the main campus.
“I have worked with the AV equipment in the auditorium for all three years at ASMS,” says ASMS senior Janet Hwang. “With every year, the equipment gets harder to work with. From microphones losing connection to the sound system to a projector failing to turn on or breaking down. Every assembly the school holds is unpredictable… Having new equipment will sufficiently benefit the school. School assemblies will be able to run smoother and save time and energy. The future sound technician will have an easier job and would not have to deal with the constant stress the current system brings.”
Other updates that the school has received are new washers and dryers and dual monitors for the computer labs.
“Having dual monitors increases the productivity of the student,” says Computer Science instructor Grey Gaillard. “They can work on one screen while referencing information on another. This is especially helpful for website developers and graphic designers. One screen is used for editing while the other is used for displaying. For programmers, one screen is used for developing code while the other contains reference articles. Students will notice that they are able to get their work done more quickly and with ease.”
The ASMS Development Department is working to improve the quality of life of the students, faculty, and administration at ASMS. Their hard work and dedication to the mission of the school is invaluable and appreciated.