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STEM education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons; students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy. (Tsupros, 2009)
The Academy of the Holy Cross embraces the role that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics plays in our students’ education. As new and emerging technologies make vast amounts of information available, there is a need for creating open learning environments that can engage learners in active, intentional, and cooperative learning.

"Improving the access to and quality of STEM education for girls is the key to increasing equality and a competitive edge is one of the most important business sectors for the future."

-Jason Wingard, Dean of the School of Professional Studies, Columbia University

The Gillespie STEM Scholarship

$5,000 a year for 4 years of high school

The Academy of the Holy Cross invites qualified incoming freshmen who have demonstrated an aptitude for science and math with a sincere interest in the field of engineering to apply for the Gillespie STEM Scholarship.

The Gillespie STEM Scholarship is a special distinction within the Sancta Crux Scholars Program. By applying for the Gillespie STEM Scholarship, applicants will be automatically considered for the Sancta Crux Scholars program and may qualify for Sancta Crux even if they do not qualify for STEM.

As the American foundress of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Mother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C. strongly believed in full educational rights for women, and championed the introduction of advanced courses in science and higher mathematics during her tenure as provincial superior.

The expansion of the order and of its educational work proceeded rapidly under Mother Angela’s direction. During the Civil War, Mother Angela established eight military hospitals, staffed two hospital ships, and provided for the direction of scores of sister-nurses.

In her honor, the Academy will award STEM Scholarships to qualified incoming freshmen who have demonstrated an aptitude for science and math, and a sincere interest in the field of engineering.

Gillespie scholars must take one of the Project Lead the Way engineering courses by the end of sophomore year.

Application Process:

An additional letter of recommendation from the applicant’s middle school science or math teacher describing the candidate's interest in pursuing STEM must be sent to This recommendation can be in the form of a letter (sent via mail or email) or using the Teacher Recommendation Form with specific commentary describing the candidates interest in pursuing STEM.

Criteria for Selection:

Applicants will be considered for the scholarship based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic performance in 7th and 8th grades, with a focus on math and science
  2. Successful completion of Algebra I
  3. Candidate Interview*
  4. Pursuit of Scholarship Submission; due Monday, January 9, 2023

2023-2024 Submission Guidelines

*Candidates will be invited to come for an interview, which will take place in February 4, 2023.


Students who study science can make informed decisions, are able to ask thoughtful questions, and can clearly communicate those questions and findings to those around them. Holy Cross Students come in contact with multiple science experiences that nurture and foster an increased curiosity and understanding of what they observe and investigate. They advance their ability to offer reasonable explanations, make predictions, and learn to respect nature and their environment. Science strengthens the skills they need to think effectively, objectively, and creatively. Whether in the life or physical sciences, students are challenged to apply scientific skills to real-world problems.


The Academy strongly believes integration of technology into our existing curriculum is a vital component for student achievement. Our commitment to technology ensures that all students are proficient in digital literacy. To cultivate and support effective information users, the Technology Department collaborates with students and faculty in an inquiry-based environment providing resources, strategies, and tools so that everyone will have the necessary skills to locate, evaluate, and integrate information.

Our 1:1 iPad Program provides tools that answer the need for utilizing technology in all aspects of the learning cycle. Through this program, we help our students develop not only technological skills, but also an appreciation for digital citizenship. Teachers and students create an environment of ingenuity and collaboration to enhance the learning process and support multiple learning styles.

Our Student Technology Center includes a computer lab, design technology classroom with a 3-D printer and 3-D pens, and a collaborative tech area for student use.

The Student Tech Team serves as technology leaders in the school producing "how-to" guides, organizing and managing an iPad help desk and maintaining social media guidelines for their peers.


Project Lead the Way empowers students to step into the role of an engineer and adapt a problem-solving mindset. The program engages students in collaborative, real-world activities As students work together to design and develop solutions to local and global challenges, they engage in problem-solving strategies and critical and creative thinking. Our Engineering classroom is designed to be flexible, adaptable, and mobile to accommodate the learning environment. The Academy offers Introduction to Engineering and Principals of Engineering. 

Girls who pass the year-end exam will earn three college credits from Rochester Institute of Technology for each PLTW course.


Holy Cross is committed to providing a curriculum in mathematics enabling each girl to attain success at her highest potential level of achievement by offering a variety of courses. The aim is to build a solid foundation in mathematics in each student by developing her sense of numeracy and her appreciation for the many applications of mathematics in all aspects of her life. Students are expected to strive for mastery of concepts as well as to attain the skill to apply those concepts accurately. From Algebra I through Multi-Variable Calculus, critical thinking skills are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Students are supported in their endeavors by the faculty through Math Lab, regularly scheduled help sessions outside of class.

STEM Related Extra Curricular Activities

Vex Robotics

Beginning in 2016, Holy Cross launched a robotics team, "AHC Transformers," which competes at the local and national level.

Final Frontiers

Physics students participate in this annual STEM competition. Preliminary competitions are held at Holy Cross with the winning teams competing at the county-wide event.

Environmental Club

Students explore the issues of conservancy and practical applications of nature study. Students participate in hands-on conservation work and discuss current policy issues.

Science Alliance

In this science club, students work on experiments and projects that enhance their class curriculum. 

Science Honor Society

Science National Honor Society Mother Angela (Gillespie), CSC Chapter was founded in 2000 to encourage and recognize scientific and intellectual thought, advance students’ knowledge of classical and modern science, communicate with the scientific community, aid the civic community with its comprehension of science, and to encourage students to participate in community service and in turn, encourage a dedication to the pursuit of scientific knowledge that benefits all of mankind.

STEM at Holy Cross


  • College Prep Science
  • AP Biology
  • AP Physics C: Mechanics


  • College Prep Technology
  • PLTW-AP Computer Science Principles
  • Intro to Programming
  • Multimedia Journalism
  • Adobe Web Design


  • Project Lead the Way
  • PLTW Intro to Engineering
  • PLTW Principles of Engineering
  • PLTW-AP Computer Science Principles


  • College Prep Math
  • AP Calculus AB
  • AP Calculus BC
  • AP Statistics
  • UMD Math Competition
  • Multivariable Calculus