In 2012, Dr. Mohamad Musavi, associate dean of UMaine engineering, thought his daughter, a BHS student, wasn't getting the full science education she should.
"That was the beginning point, but also i was interested in increasing the pathway to engineering education for high school kids," Musavi said.
As we told you earlier, the rest was history, and the Bangor S.T.E.M. program was created, but Musavi didn't stop there. Armed with one of the strongest engineering programs in the country, UMaine has served as an incubator for these teen minds, blurring the lines between high school and college.
"We have tried to break this barrier by integrating and bringing some of the students in high school to the university environment and having them work with the professors," he added.
However, most students aren't going to be engineers, but that's a good thing. Because while S.T.E.M. may the crown jewel of Bangor High, there are multiple pathways for kids to find riches later in life.
"Through taking earth science, biology, chemistry, as well as working through their math curriculum," Adam Leach, director of guidance said. "They're gonna get a better sense of where their skills, abilities, and interests are in that process."
Some of those pathways lead across town to the United Technologies Center, a trade school that also has a mentorship program with the high school.
The careers coming from that program are nothing to scoff at either. There are a number of jobs Business Insider lists as top-paying fields without a 4-year degree, including supervisor positions with a median income over $60,000 starting out. And all of these paths and more can be found at UTC or Eastern Maine Community College, who also have partnerships themselves.
"When you have a graduating class between 250 and 300 kids, the range of interests and abilities and skills are going to be very broad," Leach added. "Their goals and dreams are going to be all over the board, so it's important to have things that get them as close to that focal point that they have as possible.
And whether it's nursing, construction, or S.T.E.M., it all comes back to the students, who are taking control of their futures now.
"I'm just one person, but I hope that when other girls who want to go into S.T.E.M. see me, they take some sort of inspiration," academy student Reya Singh said. "And my advice would be just go for it even if it's intimidating."