Laramie High School offers a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) class that allows students to choose a topic that they are interested in researching and then create their own experiments to collect data on that topic.

“It’s all about designing your own lab work. We have to pick a topic and attempt to further the research on it in some way,” senior Merek Meyen said. “It can be anything related to science and technology.”

The STEM class is offered to any student who has taken chemistry. It is a challenge and opportunity for anyone looking into a STEM career.

“I’m researching lung degradation and collapse based on current known research chemicals found in most nicotine juices/compounds,” Meyen said. “I’m going to use an air compressor and a burner to create a vapor from the juice like a normal vape but the smoke is going to be trapped in a glass tube filled with something similar to the composition of a lung tissue and see how much they change over a certain amount of time.”

In the class students must build everything they will need to do their experiment.

“I am building the machine right now but I’m doing more research on what I need to use to have a successful and accurate experiment,” Meyen said.

One of the hardest parts of doing an experiment is having accurate data. This class challenges the student to create a controlled environment for their experiment that doesn’t allow other factors to ruin their experiment.

Students enjoy the challenge and the ability to do research on topics that interest them freely.

“I’m researching the production of biodiesel from microalgae as a way to offset carbon pollution,” senior Mitchell Gray said.

Biodiesel is a form of fuel based from vegetable oil and animal fat that is an alternative for regular gasoline. It is a carbon neutral alternative to petroleum fuels and is a renewable source of energy. A problem is there is not enough to meet the consumption of fuel that humans use.

“I’m going to stress the algae in different ways to see if it affects the oils they produce,” said Gray. “It might be an effective way to fuel our infrastructure and reduce carbon pollution.”

The STEM class prepares students for further careers and begins to spark interests in problem solving scenarios.