Apr 4, 2021

Top US high schools prepare international students for future careers in STEM

The 2020 global pandemic has changed our lives tremendously. All kinds of contactless technologies have quietly penetrated our “new normal” routines, such as cloud-based technology to allow employees to work from home, using robots as “medical assistants” in hospitals and contactless check-out and payment at retail stores.

One thing has become clear: many typical human jobs are and will be gradually replaced by machines in in the next few decades. New jobs are being created in the industries where AI and automation are being deployed most effectively, including banking and insurance, retail, wholesale, and manufacturing.

“Whoever masters the STEM knowledge and technical skills will most likely to have a solid career trajectory upon graduation.”


Getting a degree in STEM is one way that students can practically guarantee future job prospects. However, getting into STEM programs at top-ranking colleges and universities can be very competitive as well. Specifically, engineering is one the most popular fields targeted by many international students. To stand out among millions of outstanding peers, students need to have a strong academic background, relevant high school courses, extracurricular activities and industry exposure since high school.

Students at Carmel Catholic High School of Amerigo Chicago North Shore, for example, take at least 4 or more engineering courses during their four years of high school. Among 3,000 high schools in the US, Carmel Catholic is one of the few private schools that offers a full list of engineering courses for high school students, taught by fully qualified and experienced teachers. Courses offered include:

  • Introduction to Engineering
  • Robotics
  • Principle of Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Civil Engineering and Architecture Civil Engineering and Architecture
  • Digital Electronics
  • Engineering Design and Development Engineering Design and Development


Additionally, Carmel provides dual-credit engineering courses through local universities, which is equivalent to the college entry level courses that freshmen and sophomores take. Students who choose to take dual-credit courses can not only get high school credit, but also bring earned credits into university. This means students can skip the basic courses and directly enroll into higher-level courses. Accumulating enough college credits in high school can reduce some tuition expenses, as well as help a student graduate earlier or specialize further in a specific field of study.

Applying STEM to extracurricular activities

More than 20% of Carmel students take engineering courses every year. Many of them also participate in the school's robotics club, where they apply engineering knowledge to robot design and assembly. Carmel’s Robotics Club is one of the most popular student activities at the school. Students can join the newbie team, N3, with zero previous experience. Each year, students who are committed to the team are moved up to the school’s top team, Not Your Average Nerds (NYAN). With the school’s support and coaching, both teams compete in the First Tech Challenge every year.

Carmel’s NYAN team won first place the 2019 FTC championship in the regional competition, and advanced to the Illinois state final. They topped other teams and successfully entered the National Finals. Due to their excellent performance, they advanced to the world final and won the world championship. This is their second time entering such high-level robotics competition since 2017.

Providing opportunities to future female engineers

To encourage more girls to participate in engineering, Carmel provides a separate engineering introduction class that only girls can enroll in. In addition, Carmel established FemInSTEM Club for girls and holds an annual Girls’ Stem Day, where they invite girls ages 7-13 in the community to participate in science experiments together in order to help girls build confidence about entering STEM majors.

Preparing high school students for future careers in STEM

Carmel’s supportive faculty contributes to its incredible learning atmosphere in the school, as well as outstanding robotics competition results. Mr. Titterton, Carmel’s engineering teacher and head of STEM department, graduated from the University of Notre Dame (ranked 15th according to US News 2020 national university rankings). He has more than 15 years of teaching experience at Carmel. In 2016, he won the Outstanding Educator Award from the University of Notre Dame.

Under the leadership of Mr. Titterton, Carmel continues to offer more interesting engineering courses, collaborates with science laboratories nearby, and organizes field trips for students to experience the real science research. Carmel also plans to continue to upgrade the STEM classrooms, including updating laboratory equipment. At the moment, the school has two separate robotics rooms, an all iMac computer lab and all PC computer lab. It is equipped with three 3D printers and two laser cutters for students to create their own work.

Comment below or schedule an appointment with an Amerigo Global Manager to learn more about Carmel Catholic High School and STEM!