ASCTE Interns at COLSA

COLSA is a proud sponsor of the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering (ASCTE). We are pleased to have three (3) of their students interning with us this summer, Elliot Storey, Andrew McIntosh, and Tanner Wright.  

ASCTE is one of three tuition-free schools within the state of Alabama. The school was founded in 2018 under ACT2018-480 to promote computer science education. ASCTE will be located on Wynn Drive in Huntsville and will have an on-campus boarding option for those students who do not live near the school.  

Our interns’ interviews mentioned that ASCTE is “harder than a normal high school since there’s a huge focus on cyber and engineering.” All three students previously attended other high schools and applied to ASCTE after their ninth-grade year. Unlike their previous schools, ASCTE has science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM) influences in every class. Classes such as the History of Engineering or History of Cryptology are offered. When asked about the differences he sees between ASCTE and other schools, Tanner mentioned that “ASCTE is a STEM Career School; they want to prepare you for life beyond high school and college.” Aside from the considerable STEM influence, there is more of an “emphasis on learning rather than grading.” ASCTE wants to see you grow as a student and prepare you for a successful career.  

When asked what they liked about ASCTE, Elliot quickly told us that he loved all his teachers. He goes on to say that most of his teachers are subject-matter experts from the field. Huntsville is a city that is rich in STEM and supplies the school with many, well- experienced teachers. Andrew tells us that he “loves how challenging it is.” He feels like the school wants him to succeed and that they ‘encourage [him] to push and apply [himself] in all areas of education.” To these students, they feel as though they are learning material that will genuinely help them with their life. While both Elliot and Andrew love the hands-on projects that are offered, Tanner said that he loves the field experience they get by traveling to STEM-oriented companies in Huntsville.  

Andrew also tells us that ASCTE is like “one big family.” Everyone is very close because the student body was collectively 150 students for the 2021-2022 school year. Tanner seconded this opinion, telling us that ASCTE is like “one big summer camp, and you are friends with everyone and can hang out with anyone.” But, unlike any non-magnet high school in the Huntsville area, this small class size allows for more one-on-one time for teachers and students.  

To get into ASCTE, students must apply. The application process consists of essay questions, a video, and recommendation letters from not just teachers but also parents and students. The purpose of this application is to provide a “rigorous review process to ensure mission fitness and a desire to learn” according to ASCTE.  

All the interns highlighted that ASCTE has prepared them for their positions here at COLSA. Elliot tells us that ASCTE “stress professional disposition.” They were well prepared for their internship in an office setting due to the instructions from their teachers. When asked how COLSA has contributed to their thoughts on working in the STEM field, all three interns confirmed that they are in the right field of work. 

If you are interested in ASCTE and want to learn more, read about it here.