Stratford STEM Magnet student creates documentary about the Parthenon


While doing an internship with the Parthenon, Dev Bhavsar, a senior at Stratford STEM Magnet School in the Academy of Science and Engineering, used the opportunity as inspiration for another one of his passions: filmmaking.

Belmont-bound Bhavsar produced a 31- minute documentary-style video, The Lost History of the Parthenon,  that explores the history of the Parthenon from ancient times to the present. The film includes in-person and Skype interviews with top scholars, in Greece and the United States.

The music featured in the first half of the film was composed by Nikos Xanthulous, a musician and composer who appeared as a Parthenon Symposium speaker in 2012.

At the annual meeting of the Tennessee Association of Museums on March 15, Bhavsar received a TAM Award of Excellence as well as the prestigious Past Presidents Award, which is selected from all of the Award of Excellence winners in the current year.

Check out the video below.

Need More Energy? Watch This.

Originally shared by Ford Next Generation Learning. 

With relatives living all the way in Jamaica, Shakarah transformed her academy network into her family. Through her Alternative Energy production class she developed meaningful relationships with her peers that are sure to last a lifetime.

Join Shakarah as she introduces us to the world class, and famous Alternative Energy program at Whites Creek High School. Unlock the power of the network here.



Cheers, Tears, and Celebrating Ten Years

This year is the Academies of Nashville 10-Year Anniversary!

While we will be celebrating all year long, we hosted a special presentation at the December Administrative and Supervisory Meeting last week. Hear from students from each of the Academies of Nashville schools on how the academies have helped their pursue their college and career goals.

Nnadozie Ibe, Antioch High School, Tennessee Credit Union Academy of Business and Finance


Jarad McCray, Cane Ridge High School, Academy of Law

Reanas Saleh, Glencliff High School, Hands On Nashville Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning

Olivia Zavitson, Hillsboro High School, US Community Credit Union Academy of International Business and Communication

Tevion Turner, Hillwood High School, Academy of Health Sciences

Alanna Brown, Hunters Lane High School, Academy of International Baccalaureate

BreeAnna Collins, Maplewood High School, Academy of Sports Medicine and Wellness

Victor Ochoa, McGavock High School, Gaylord Entertainment Academy of Hospitality

Khai Hardin, Overton High School, Academy of Information Technology

Jacob Graham, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Academy of Entertainment Communication

Jack Utley, Stratford STEM Magnet High School, Academy of Science and Engineering

Jacob Williams, Whites Creek High School, Academy of Community Health

The Story of a Student Athlete- Hillsboro High’s Darius Ferguson

By Rashed Fakhruddin

Darius Ferguson picStudent athlete Darius Ferguson has a game plan both on and off the basketball court. The Hillsboro High School varsity basketball player averages 11 points and six assists per game and helped lead his team to the state tournament two years in a row, but his priorities remain focused on academics and potential career opportunities.


A year ago, I was sitting next to Darius’ parents during one of his games at regionals. They mentioned he was interested in engineering and I offered the opportunity for him to shadow me on the job at Nashville Electric Service (NES).


During fall break, Darius took me up on the offer and spent the day at NES learning different engineering applications, asking questions and talking about career development. During our lunch break, the roles reversed and Darius taught me a few things on the basketball court over a couple of games at the nearby YMCA.


Earlier this month, I turned on the television to see Hillsboro playing Mt. Juliet. Darius had a monster fourth quarter advancing the team to state. The very next day, I received an email from Darius asking about the possibility of an NES internship this summer. I was so impressed! This senior just had one of the biggest games of his life and he still has his future in mind.


Darius Ferguson basketball picWe recently had a long phone conversation that was the highlight of my week. It topped my winning three-point buzzer beater for NES against the Nashville Fire Department in the Metro Parks Basketball League. It even meant more than a personal spotlight in Nashville Scene’s annual People’s issue.


It epitomizes the dream we have as business partners with Metro Nashville Public Schools to see our students motivated, challenged and prepared for college and careers.

Overton Student’s Work Featured in Two Science Publications

Overton High School senior Yasmin Alvarado-Rayo yasmin photois being published in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine and Young Scientist journal for her work on a modular robotics kit that can be used to support STEM education.

Yasmin, pictured right, is a student in the Overton Academy of Health Sciences.

As part of the team at The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, she will share publication honors for “eSMAC: an Affordable Modular Robotic Kit for Integrated STEM Education.”

The rest of the team members for the publication include include: Vanderbilt postdoctoral student Ekawahyu Susilo, Vanderbilt undergraduate student Jianing Liu, Vanderbilt undergraduate student Ashley Melissa Peck, Hume-Foggg teacher Justin Montenegro, local high school teacher Mark Gonyea,  and Vanderbilt engineering faculty member Dr. Pietro Valdastri.

Yasmin worked in Vanderbilt’s STORM lab with Dr. Pietro Valdastri and her SSMV mentor was Dr. Stephanie Weeden-Wright.

Click here to visit the Young Scientist journal website.

Click here to visit the IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine website.

Congrats, Yasmin!

Students Work to Improve Bike Safety over Summer Break

Internships give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Delaine Wendling, a lead teachers from Stratford STEM Magnet High School‘s Academy of Science and Engineering,  had students who participated in an internship this summer though the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University.  In this post, Delaine write about her perceptions of the internship and the impact it had on her students.

The new school year looms just around the corner promising new interactions, knowledge, and growth. Oh yes, and impressive moments. My students never fail to impress me, whether it’s through their ability to talk their way out of a consequence or their innovative solutions to different problems. Today, my students delivered; and they delivered at a whole new level. The halls have yet to be roamed and the dust has just been wiped off of my desk yet my students have already blown my socks off. Students from Hume-Fogg, MLK, and, our very own, Stratford STEM High School participated in an internship at ISIS (Institute for Software Integrated Systems), a research organization of the school of engineering at Vanderbilt, this summer.

The students were challenged to improve a bike’s safety in a user friendly way. The students launched head first into the task and came out the other side with an informational and entertaining presentation to the public of their inventive new products. These included wheel lights that have the potential to be customizable, a brake light and turn signals, and a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that can track and display various metrics- i.e. speed, distance, calories burned, etc. All of these features are controlled by a computer attached to the bike. Developed safety features can all be sold separately, allowing a potential customer to pick and choose what s/he feels is important to her/him. Furthermore, their software is open source, allowing the program-savvy consumers to expand upon the existing framework and add their own features.

During the presentation, the students were transparent about their struggles and how they overcame them while creating their bike products. Students came into the internship with a multitude of experiences and skills amongst them. Specifically and thanks to our engineering program, Stratford STEM students brought the ability to work with CAD software (Computer-Aided Design) and 3-D printing. Throughout the internship, the students sought the expertise and advice of professors, graduate students, undergraduates, and each other to develop bike safety tools.  In addition, students self-taught, using the vast resources of the internet, the majority of the material needed to progress. They learned new, and improved familiar, skills including: collaboration, communication/presentation, problem solving, programming, etc. through the summer internship. Their intense motivation to learn came from the ownership they felt, their interest, and the relevance of the project, to name a few. This is the heart of Project Based Learning (PBL). The presentation I saw today further confirmed the importance of PBL to a students’ love for learning and the development of 21st century citizens. Stratford is no stranger to PBL and is actually becoming a MNPS PBL demonstration school this upcoming school year. So, stay tuned for the amazing projects our students will be engaged in throughout the year as well as the new bike safety products that will be hitting the market soon??!!

See more information here.


Growing the Future of Urban Agriculture in Nashville

The Academies of Nashville business partners are an essential element to high school redesign. While many partnerships occur in the classroom through guest speakers and mentoring, there are some partnerships that occur with students outside of the school grounds. Jason at Trevecca Nazarene University’s Urban Farm shares his experiences with students outside the classroom. 


UnknownEarly this spring, Trevecca Urban Farm began developing a relationship with the Academies of Nashville after an enthusiastic visit from the director, Dr. Chaney Mosley and Overton High School’s Academy Coach, Mary York.  A desire was expressed at that point to begin connecting students from Metro schools–particularly from the four schools with agricultural pathways—with our agricultural work.  Overton in particular has an agricultural academy that focuses on urban agriculture.

This dream quickly began to be realized when three students from Overton spent a week of mornings with us at the farm, working and learning about the how’s and why’s of urban agricultural during their spring intercession.  This was followed by the Trevecca Urban Farm Camp.  Like the intercession week, this was a hands-on learning experience that submerged students into the global and local issues of food, farming, and justice as they learned to care for chickens, fish, worms, fruit, and vegetables.  In addition, eighteen students learned how to build and plant a garden, build a compost pile, and plant trees. These eighteen students represented eleven different nationalities as first or second generation Americans.

Students completing the camp had an opportunity to apply for a paid internship for the remaining seven weeks of the summer.  We welcomed six students who worked hard alongside our farm team to build up the farm and plant a huge vegetable garden, care for fruit trees and bushes, and care for fish, worms, and chickens.  Once they were trained in the why and how of the farm, we were able to let them teach and lead groups of visitors at the farm over the summer.  It was amazing to watch them passionately explain to other teens the issues around food access in our neighborhood. Two of the interns incubated chicks from our fertilized eggs. Another wants to be a missionary and employ these skills abroad for the good of those she serves.

Additionally, the Trevecca Urban Farm hosted five teachers from different disciplines for a teacher externship where they worked and learned for three full days about the issues of food justice, agriculture, nutrition and diet-related illness, and gardening. The teachers planned to develop an interdisciplinary project to be implemented at Overton this fall. It was a shock to the teachers that the Overton student interns taught them about the farm. They were blown away when we allowed these same students to train them in what we were doing with enthusiasm, ownership, and expertise.  They couldn’t believe the difference in these students when they were given a chance to learn with their bodies, follow their curiosities, and embrace leadership roles.

Finally, we took the interns to a local farm where they picked blackberries, blueberries, and apples and got to see how a full scale production farm operates.  They were involved in every aspect of our work and were educated in the social, biological, and spiritual aspects of caring for the soil and its fruits.  In their last week, they caught tilapia out of the aquaponics system and took them to Chef John in the cafeteria where he taught them how to filet and prepare the fish for a meal.  We then ate a meal together that was almost exclusively made up of farm produce that they had grown and harvested.  The summer with these high school students was a rich, rich experience—incredibly inspiring to the adult interns and volunteers that worked alongside them through the summer.

Four students from the internship and the camp stated, without any prompting, that they were applying to Trevecca Nazarene University!

Students and Partners Make Sweet Music Together

Internships give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Student from Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School participated in an internship this summer with Warner Music. In this post, the students created a short video depicting their experience. Congratulations Raynesha A., Courtney B., De’Maira D., Jasmine F., Quantarius H., Jasmine J., Cavelle J., Deanna K., Antionial K., Caitelyn K., Tanner L., Jarvisha M., Fred O., Dominique P., Vincent P., Adrian P., Brittany R., Spencer R., Devanta D., and Justin W. on a successful summer!

One piece of the puzzle

When Su Kang, a rising senior at Hillwood High School in the Academy of Business and Hospitality, started her summer internship this year through the National Career Advancement Center, she had a preconceived notion of what working in Mayor Karl Dean’s Office would be like.

“As a senior in high school, I finally get to be at the ‘top of the food chain’ in school,” Kang said. “A senior usually feels a sense of happiness, superiority, and mental prowess. But, being in this office and being surrounded by people who have such great experience and intellect intimidated me as well as gave me a wake up call. I had such a naive mindset. But, since I know better now, I can work harder to do some good in my community.”

Kang spent the majority of her summer interning in the Mayor’s Office where she learned about all of the initiative going on in Nashville including areas such as transportation, entertainment, health and wellness and much more. One of her major projects was the Mayor’s Neighborhood Challenge. Kang organized application information, invited neighborhoods via email and phone, and editing the final website for the event.

“I learned that all the small things add up in the big picture from working on the Mayor’s Neighborhood Challenge,” Kang said. “Even though the task might seem small, it is still something that needs to be done and done correctly and efficiently.”

Kang was able to gain this experience through the Summer Youth Internship Program through the Nashville Career Advancement Center. The internship program is a short-term learning and employment opportunity for Nashville Davidson County youth. Participants are assignment to work at a Metro department for twenty hours a week for four weeks. In addition, all participants receive opportunities for skill building and training.





Why did the chicken cross the road?

Onyedika M., a student at Overton High School, had the opportunity to work for the week of intersession at Trevecca Nazarene University’s Urban Farm.  Trevecca Nazarene University recently partnered with Overton High School’s newly developed Urban Agriculture pathway.  Onyedika M. reflects on his experience below.



Onyedika, an Overton High School student, overcoming a light case of Alektorophobia (fear of chickens) with his unhappy therapist.

My experience at the Trevecca Urban Farm will definitely be a memorable one.  I was able to receive knowledge in an area that I was personally interested in.  I learned about aquaponic systems and about finding the micro climates within your own yard.  The farming techniques will prove invaluable when I plan to start my own mini-farm; although, the information was only part of what made the internship beneficial.

The people were another amazing thing about the experience.  The chance to meet Jason Adkins and the others made the atmosphere fun and relaxing.  Being around those who have a similar passion for agriculture was unique and refreshing.  It was through them that I was able to meet thechickens of Trevecca.  They were incredible because I have never been exposed to live chickens, and they were so colorful.  After we tended to the chickens, I had the opportunity to visit the urban garden project.  The idea of this project is simply amazing!  Working with other volunteers to complete a common goal is something I hope to be involved in.  I plan to continue working at Trevecca over the summer, and I hope to see the garden prosper.

Finding Motivation

Chris Steele College Student, TTCU Teller on BreaksMy journey was and is a long but blessed, humbled, and rough journey. Coming from Memphis, TN to Nashville back to Memphis, I have learned a lot about life and have grown in various ways.

When I first stepped into Antioch High School with my twin, I did not take school nor life serious. I lacked motivation and work ethic. I truly did not see the value of hard work.

Around the end of my freshman year and beginning of sophomore year, I began to want more out of life than to just cruise by. What began to truly motivate me was watching the building of The Tennessee Credit Union in our cafeteria. I wanted to take on a new challenge and become a teller and show the school and my family what I can do. I wanted more out of my education and life and this was the opportunity I was waiting for.

Going through the internship with The Tennessee Credit Union has matured me and molded me into a more professional young gentleman. I have had the chance to meet so many wonderful people through this internship. After graduation and working at the main branch over my breaks, I have made many connections with co-workers over middle Tennessee. The employees’ and members of The Tennessee Credit Union are very supportive and helped me in many of ways.

To the future alumni of Antioch High School, find something to motivate you and pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you no, especially yourself. You will never find out who you are until you find out who you aren’t. Find your strengths and build upon that and keep faith. Ignorance is not bliss.

Glencliff Senior Selected to Intern for MNPS

Internships give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Kimberly G., a student from Glencliff High School’s Academy of Hospitality and Mareting,  participated in an internship this summer though the Nashville Career Advacement Center. In this post, Kimberly write about her experience.


Kimberly worked at the reception desk of the Metro Nashville Public Schools Central Office.

Hi, my name is Kimberly. I am a senior at Glencliff High School. Whoo! Class of 2013! I have been attending Glencliff my entire high school career. I am part of the Academy of Hospitality and Marketing. I have been and still am affiliated with a couple of in and out of school activities  including United Nations, YMCA Latino Achievers, which I am President for the 2012-2013 school year, DECA, Garden Club,  GHS soccer, JUMP (Youth United for a Better Present), Study Foundation, church choir, and many more. I am a very determined, cheerful, respectful, and passionate with the desire to become successful in life. My goals are to graduate high school and continue my education. I aspire to become a pediatrician, or an obstetrician. I know I will accomplish my goals as long as I put my all into it.

In the summer of 2012, I was presented the opportunity to become one of the fifty students to be selected out of two-hundred and fifty applicants for the NCAC (Nashville Career Advancement Center) Intern program.  As I was selected, I was placed as an intern for MNPS (Metro Nashville Public Schools) in the department of Customer Service. I gained lots of new experiences. I was able to answer a few phone calls and be the receptionist, which happened to be what I enjoyed the most. I was able to become more familiar to people’s reactions, whether they were good or bad. I learned how to manage certain situations in a certain manner.  One of the most beneficial parts of this internship was being able to meet very important and amazing people that do their best for students, parents and faculty. Also, gaining knowledge of all the different jobs that are available and what they consist of.

Working with Customer Service representatives and both the manager and the supervisor, has been and continues to be a wonderful learning experience that I know I won’t forget. I was honored to be asked to continue working with them throughout my last year of high school. When I was asked to continue working with Customer Service, I was shocked, because I was certain I had to have done something great for them to want me to stay. I was pleased and joyful; this internship has opened doors that I never knew could have been opened. I greatly appreciate everyone who’s helped me. I know this experience will help me after graduation and in college.

Innovation for All, Real-World Experience for High School Students

Internships give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Isaiah and Royal, students from Antioch High School’s Academy of Automotive Technology participated in an internship this summer with Nissan. In this post, Isaiah and Royal write about their experiences.


My name is Isaiah and I am a part of the Academy of Automotive Technology at Antioch High School. My summer experience at the Nissan Plant was really fun and educational.  We were split into groups and our objectives were to solve different problems with cars.  My group was assigned the Maxima.  It had an issue with the muffler hanging too low.  I liked that we got a hands-on experience rather than just talking about the problems.  I never really had any experience in the automotive field so this was a great chance for me to explore something new.  I wanted to become an anesthesiologist but after the Nissan internship, I am rethinking my future career.


My name is Royal and I am a part of the Academy of Automotive Technology at Antioch High School. During the Nissan summer enrichment program I can say I learned how engineers handle their problems with cars.  My group worked on the Altima which was having an issue with the washer fluid tank.  There was a leak.  We developed a temporary fix first, then continued to develop a more permanent solution.  Even though I had to get up early on Saturdays in the summer, I feel like the program was really beneficial toward my future and the things I plan on doing.  I come from a family of engineers so I feel that the program really helped me confirm my future plans.  The internship was a great experience and they also helped us build our resumes.


Not only did the students grow from their time spent with Nissan, Ms. Carmen Washington, a teacher in the math department for the Academy of Automotive Engineering at Antioch High School, discovered innovation under the hood of her experiences as well.


“My experience this summer with the Nissan externship was very enlightening.  My findings about how mathematics is applied in the development process of a new product took me to a new level of differentiated instruction. I found it very fascinating that all of the subject areas are vital in this interdisciplinary project. The Nissan business partners were highly supportive in showing me how math is used in the corporate industry and I’m grateful for the experience.”
— Ms. Carmen Washington

Summer Internship through the University of Tennessee Knoxville

Internships give students the opportunity to see the realities of a profession or industry and the connections between learning and the real world. Evelyn M., a student from Glencliff High School’s Academy of Medical Science and Research participated in an internship with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Due to her experiences in this internship, Evelyn M. is now holding a part time job at a local veterinary clinic in Nashville while still in high school. In this post, Evelyn M. writes about her experience.

Evelyn gained hands on experience through her internship. Here, she is attending to a Great Dane brought into the clinic. She hopes to continue her education and someday become a veterinarian.

Hello, my name is Evelyn and I am one of the many students in the Academy of Medical Science and Research at Glencliff High School. Being apart of this academy has offered me extensive opportunities to volunteer, gain personal, hands on experience, and learn more in depth about the medical field. In fact, this past summer of 2012, I had the chance to participate in a competitive internship sponsored through the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Being an aspiring veterinarian, experience is critical to my success, so thanks to all the support and motivation from the many teachers and counselors who helped me along the way, I was accepted into this summer program.

During this internship, I was able to work for seven weeks at the Grassmere Animal Hospital in Nashville and spend the last week of the internship in Knoxville as a guest of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine. Throughout the eight weeks, I was an employee of the University and received a bi-weekly stipend for the hours I worked. While at the veterinary college, I lived at a university dorm and was involved in various educational programs such as lectures, laboratories, and clinical rotations. This knowledgeable experience taught me so much and opened my eyes to almost every aspect of the veterinary field and has greatly encouraged me to endeavor for a career in this amazing profession! I could not have done this without my Academy’s support!

Summer learning: connecting academics with the real world

Summer learning is a popular topic during the warm months. Educators and parents across the United States talk each year about the importance of students maintaining their knowledge during summer break in order to make progress in the following school year. There’s plenty of research that shows that students’ skills erode during long vacations (here is one example from the National Summer Learning Association). At the same time, it is important to allow students to enjoy the opportunity to recharge and learn other important skills that are less accessible in the classroom, such as starting a small business or getting a job.

The Academies of Nashville encourage all students to use the summer break to explore their interests and deepen their understanding of professions they want to pursue. Job shadowing is a great way to spend time with professional who work in a particular field and learn more about what it takes to succeed in that industry or career. For more advanced students, an internship is an opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge of an industry, gain valuable experience working in that industry, and build relationships with working professionals to start a career. Summer learning can take many forms, and learning about a career through hands-on learning and real-world experience can be a boost that jumpstarts your professional goals.