J-Term: Extended learning and nurturing potential for Maine students

4 weeks ago

LIMESTONE, Maine —  Maine School of Science and Mathematics, the state’s first tuition-free, public, residential high school, concludes its January Term, J-Term, a two-week program aimed at providing project-based and Extended Learning Opportunities for students with personalized learning experiences, aiming to connect academic content with practical applications. J-Term is an integral part of the MSSM curriculum and a graduation requirement that serves as a window through which students can explore undiscovered occupational possibilities through community-based career exploration.

J-Term 2024 offered a variety of credit-bearing classes, including off-campus internships, Ugandan culture, experimental mathematics, geographic information systems, designing and building post-apocalypse musical instruments, organized trips to Columbia University and Peru, and blacksmithing. 

Eugene Katsman, MSSM physics & engineering instructor, commented on the blacksmithing class, stating, “Our immersive blacksmithing class allows students to bridge the gap between the classroom and real-world applications, providing them with a hands-on learning experience.”

Maine School of Science and Mathematics sophomore Gabriel Kirmani recently took part in a J-Term internship program at VALT Enterprizes in Presque Isle.
(Courtesy of MSSM)

During the J-Term internship program, sophomore student Gabriel Kirmani, who hails from Scarborough, had the opportunity to work at VALT Enterprizes located in Presque Isle. Kirmani said, “During my two-week internship, I immersed myself in their operations. Initially, I received an overview of the facility and an understanding of the ongoing projects. My tasks included working on rocket simulations using publicly available software and Python programming to create a basic rocket simulation based on fundamental principles of rocket design and flight mechanics.”

VALT Enterprizes has worked with MSSM since our introduction in May of 2023. Kameron McGill, HR director at Valt, said this about the internship program, “MSSM is a great start for these students, and we hope to continue to support these brilliant individuals and provide them with real-life applications that they can utilize depending on the educational journey they decide to pursue.” 

Valt Enterprizes, an acronym for Vertical Air-breathing Launch Technology, is a leading developer and provider of hypersonic delivery systems for both suborbital and orbital applications.