iMAS academy June 2013 - Bret Lockhart, Lufkin High School mathematics instructor and iMAS Academy master teacher, looks on as iMAS participants (from left) Josie Schooley, Summerrose Smith, Dalten Tory and Michael Clemens participate in a ground water flow experiment.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas - About 100 ninth-grade students from five area school districts attended iMAS (Investigations in Math and Science) Academy at Stephen F. Austin State University.

SFA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) faculty members, master teachers from area schools and SFA student assistants spent the week guiding participants in the discovery of academic skills necessary for STEM careers such as biology, chemistry, environmental science and robotic engineering. Students from Central, Hudson, Lufkin, Nacogdoches and Woden school districts participated in the academy.

Divided into four groups, students rotated between investigative modules focusing on STEM careers, including Green Goo and Guppy Gills, A Grave Mistake, Zombie Toenails, and Nac Jack Jones and the First Crusade. Team challenges, a building project, chemistry experiment and physics activities also were included in the program.

SFA has hosted the academy for two years. This year's participants spent time each day discovering SFA by visiting the Academic Assistance and Resource Center, residence halls, the Baker Pattillo Student Center and the Student Recreation Center.

The iMAS Academy is a collaborative effort between the College of Sciences and Mathematics STEM Research and Learning Center and the James I. Perkins College of Education's East Texas GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) for Success Project.