B-STEM Honors Program

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What is B-STEM?

B-STEM stands for Business, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. B-STEM’s hallmark is a 4-year course sequence* that integrates STEM fields with business strategies into a cohesive learning model. B-STEM provides students with the ability to think critically, work collaboratively and communicate effectively—the skills students need for advanced degrees and real-world applications.

Students are invited to the B-STEM program through one of two ways: as freshmen based on their middle school academic record and performance on the High School Placement Test or as sophomores based on their freshmen year academic record. B-STEM students take Honors level or Advanced Placement (AP) courses all four years, maintaining an excellent GPA. In addition to the elevated course offerings, B-STEM students have access to extended learning opportunities and summer internships.

The goal of the program is to prepare students to succeed in Business and STEM majors in college and to give students the skills needed for successful professional careers:

  • Collaboration: The ability to work with others to achieve a common goal.
  • Communication: The ability to articulate thoughts, ideas, and reasoning clearly and appropriately, to a wide audience.
  • Creative Problem Solving: The ability to use imagination and innovation, think in divergent directions, and develop novel approaches to the conception of ideas and solutions.
  • Critical Thinking: The ability to define questions and problems, design investigations to gather and organize data, generate and evaluate alternatives, and implement solutions.
  • Self-Reliance: The ability to use personal initiative and self-motivation to set agendas, develop and gain self-confidence, work within specified time frames, and follow a project through to completion.
  • Financial Literacy: The ability to understand how money works in the world and concepts of costs, profitability, financing, and return on investment.

During their senior year, B-STEM students complete a capstone project. This may be done as an independent research project that produces a substantial presentation reflecting a deep understanding of the topic, or as a research project done as part of the Design Thinking course. After successfully completing all course requirements and a capstone, graduating B-STEM students receive an honors diploma.

Student Successes

Through the NFTE/Corporate Experience class, Holy Trinity has sent four Tigers to compete in the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City since 2017. In 2019, Aaron Trinidad ’20 took first place and Gabriel Sheikh ’20 was runner-up, winning $17,000 and $9,000 respectively in prize money. Read more.

Graduates of the B-STEM class go far, including these elite universities:

  • Wellesley University, with a full-ride Questbridge Scholarship
  • University of Michigan, with a full-ride Posse Scholarship
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • University of Southern California

The Curriculum

Cohort Requirements:

  • Minimum of 3 core courses at honors level or above each year
  • 4 years of math
  • 4 years of science
  • 2½ years of technology/business courses
  • AP or college-level courses
  • Capstone Project

Students are expected to maintain at least a 3.25 GPA. Students who are not a part of the B-STEM Program may also take advantage of B-STEM classes, which include:

B-STEM I: Application Design and Implementation
This course will introduce students to computer applications and app development. Students will learn advanced computer application skills through cloud-based technology. In addition, students will learn website design principles, and how to design and build their own computer app to be used with smart devices. Topics include abstraction, algorithms, data structures, Boolean logic, software engineering, and web development. Languages introduced include JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and Python.

B-STEM II: Introduction to Technological Entrepreneurship
This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, using lessons from companies started in Silicon Valley that have ignited a revolution across the world. Students will study how the evolution of technology has changed 21st century business. The focus of this course is for students to gain a real world understanding of business concepts. Students will learn financial literacy and collaborate on team-based projects. In addition, students will gain practical experience by working with mentors from a variety of business fields. Students will work in teams to develop a working concept for a start-up business and participate in business competitions.

NFTE/Corporate Experience
This course will offer entrepreneurship curricula that teach math and literacy skills in the context of building a business plan. The program is rigorous, experiential and practical to students’ futures. The students will compete with their business plans at various levels that include local, up to regional and national competition. In addition, this course will offer discussion and individual group activities to prepare the student as a candidate for a summer internship in the Holy Trinity School Friends for a Future program. The student will learn and practice skills including resume preparation, business etiquette, interviewing, and critical thinking activities for the world of work. Teamwork and commitment will be emphasized as part of the training.

Design Thinking
Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. Through the use of Project Based Learning (PBL), students will embrace the Design Thinking concept in a semester-long class, team taught in conjunction with Northwestern University’s EPIC Program. Ultimately, students will create a feasible solution to address their identified problems. Students may enter competition, complete their capstone project, or complete an independent study project during this course. The course will be offered in semester one with the option to extend to semester two, for students who wish to continue their research and/or complete their capstone projects. Opportunities for the Design Thinking workshops may occur outside of regularly scheduled class times.

Unique Opportunities

Friends for a Future

Holy Trinity High School created its Friends for a Future in 1995 to provide students with insight into business and career opportunities through first-hand exposure to a professional work environment. After completing the NFTE/Corporate Experience course, trained students interview for placement in corporate internships. Each intern is matched with a mentor from the business community who provides support and guidance while also periodically checking in with the intern’s employer. Thanks to this unique, two-pronged approach, Friends for a Future has played a significant role in the growth and development of more than 350 students, all of whom have gone on to college.

Extended Learning Opportunities

  • Participation in Chicago Ideas Week programming, the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes of companies and organizations (like Google, Nike, and Microsoft) and engage directly with globally recognized speakers for more intimate small group interactions.
  • Through our growing partnership with Future Founders Foundation, students took on the task of researching and assessing the financial health of Silicon Valley based companies, such as Microsoft, Tesla, and Google.
  • Through our partnership with Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), students compete in different challenges in the World Series of Innovation: the Microsoft School Improvement App Challenge and the Coca-Cola Bottled Water Brand Challenge each year.

B-STEM Summer Enrichment Program

Through our B-STEM Summer Enrichment Program, students may visit or live on college campuses while taking college-level courses. Programs include:

  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine: Nephrology Department Sci-High GoKidney Program
  • Smith College: Summer Science and Engineering Program, Summer Precollege Program for High School Girls
  • Technology at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT): NxtGen High School Summer Program
  • Illinois Tech Global Leaders Program (previously the IIT Boeing Scholars Academy)
  • Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s ENTERpreneur Camp
  • Berkeley Pre-College Scholars: Summer Program