RHS Announced as a Top Engineering School By University of Maryland


Photo by Madison Dieffenbach

University of Maryland College Park ranked RHS among the top 25 high schools that provide students to the their A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Madison Dieffenbach, Staff Writer

For the second time this past decade, RHS has been named one of the top 25 high schools providing students to the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and has received acknowledgement on the university’s website, as well as letters and certificates from the school’s dean. 

 As part of UMD, the Clark School is required to draw at least 70% of their students in-state. One of the top 25 engineering programs for undergraduate studies, the Clark School is one of the best places for students interested in engineering to study at, according to U.S. News. 

“I am considering going to the school of engineering at the University of Maryland because it is a nationally high ranking engineering school. I am planning on majoring in engineering when I get to college,” senior Vincent Du said.

Engineering spans many specialties; ranging from mechanical, software and even agricultural engineering. Regardless of their specialty, an engineer’s education requires precision and advanced knowledge, which RHS’ engineering program, centered around the Project Lead the Way (PLTW), offers. A national program, PLTW is a four year sequence of courses that aims to improve the quality and quantity of future engineers. Courses in PLTW include, but are not limited to, Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.

“I signed up for the introduction engineering class in sixth grade to get my credit out of the way in middle school. However, I ended up enjoying it, so I joined the PLTW program when I came to Rockville,” sophomore Halle Huber said.

While some MCPS high schools have engineering programs with specific focuses, such as Magruder’s Aviation program or Edison’s Automotive pathway, RHS’ engineering program has a more diverse focus, teaching students a wide variety of engineering knowledge, allowing students to be more experienced with the various types of engineering. 

“You’re learning a lot of different types [of engineering in PLTW]. You’re learning electrical, you do a lot of the math behind basic engineering, architectural [engineering], and how to draw stuff and how to build,” Huber said. 

The global PLTW program, as well as RHS’ PLTW program, both pride themselves on preparing students for engineering programs in college. Not only does the program offer end-of-program assessments that may allow students to gain college credit while in high school, the program also provides students with apprenticeship opportunities. Companies such as John Deere and Cerner specifically seek out PLTW students for career helping opportunities such as resume reviews and mock interviews. 

The PLTW program has helped to shape RHS’ engineering program into one that is now recognized by UMD, a nationally top ranked school. The knowledge and guidance the program develops paves the way for students looking at the school. 

“This acknowledgement is a validation of the work the students have done here. I think it’s also a testament to the work the teachers have done here to shepard the students and expose them to engineering in such a way that they want to persuade this as a career,” technology teacher Sean Gowen said.

Most students in the PLTW program are planning on continuing engineering as a major in college, leading to a future career. Many are looking at the Clark school to further their education in the field, and some have already looked at it through summer programs. 

“I got college credit this summer for attending the introductory engineering class following my experience at the Terps Young Scholars program over the summer. This is one of the reasons I applied to UMD,” Du said. 

Programs like the one Du attended not only expose students to what campus life is like, they also reveal the program’s teaching style while providing an opportunity for high school students to receive college credit. Attending summer programs like these help increase the number of RHS students commiting to the school for college, and increases the likelihood of RHS being recognized in the future. More students from RHS going to the Clark school in the future will not only keep RHS on the list of top 25 source schools, but will also hopefully raise RHS to the top of the list.