LeCroy Career Technical Center spotlight on Jay LeCroy

Published 11:20 am Monday, May 9, 2016

My foray into science education began with natural curiosity about the world and some intriguing science classes I encountered at college. I graduated in Marine Biology and worked in research for Auburn University Sea labs in Mobile.

Science is an essential part of any engineering and technology career, and I have enjoyed bringing my real world experience as a scientist to the classroom.



I began teaching science (physical science, chemistry, and physics) about nine years ago, and I realized that our county needed a boost in science classes that would appeal to more students. I began introducing more hands-on labs and projects, introducing RC airplane clubs, LEGO robotics clubs and outside adventures such as water testing in my science classes.

I even wrote and applied for grants to help finance our outings. When I was offered the chance to build an even more comprehensive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math program with advanced science classes, I jumped in and worked with a goal in mind. The STEM Academy at LCTC was the product of extensive building and cooperation.

Four years ago, I collaborated with Jason Sosa, and we began to instruct college-bound students in the foundations needed to do well in engineering, science and medical degrees or any technical degree.

His expertise in computer science principles and introduction to engineering and design has enabled the students to a great chance to acquire practical skills for STEM careers. Here, I teach AP Physics 1, AP chemistry, and engineering and robotics courses at the STEM Academy.

Within months of the STEM Academy’s opening in 2012, we had begun to win academic championships. Before the end of the year, we had won a state championship for robotics.

This year, we cap off another successful year with a second place win at Barbers Motor Speedway.

Each year, we prepare students to compete in academic competitions at campuses around the state. Our goal is to showcase the talents of Chilton County students and see how they compare to students around the state. Our students regularly receive compliments from other teachers for their skill and hard work.

The future of the STEM Academy is uncertain, but in the past four years, hundreds of students have passed through the Academy and have gone on to study at two- and four-year schools.

Our county’s economic development depends on better preparing students to be successful in higher education. STEM is not a passing fad; it will be around for a very long time.

STEM jobs are the goal. STEM jobs will grow twice as fast as non-STEM jobs in the future. Studies show that a person with a STEM degree enjoys higher earnings than a person with a non-STEM degree.

Jobs in computer systems design and related services, a field dependent on high-level math and problem-solving skills, are projected to grow 45 percent by 2018.

The statistics are alarming: The U.S. may be short as many as 3 million high-skilled workers by 2018.

–Jay LeCroy