The Atonement Academy has had students participating in the Voelcker Biomedical Research Program since its inception in 2009. This intensive summer program provides a unique opportunity for local high school students to experience and learn about the world of biomedical research in a way that is usually reserved for graduate level students. The program includes a financial scholarship to be used at the college of the student’s choice upon graduation from high school. Partnering the very best rising sophomores with outstanding biomedical scientists from the UT Health Science Center, the program seeks to promote excellence in scholarship and biomedical research training for a 3-year period. Students are selected from among several select schools in the San Antonio area. The first year consists of an immersive, hands-on, summer research program, in addition to participation in a number of special research oriented activities throughout the academic year. In years 2 and 3, distinguished Health Science Center scientists serve as the students’ mentors. At the conclusion of each year of the program, all successful Voelcker Scholars are awarded a Voelcker Student stipend and invited to participate in subsequent years of the program. Currently, there are 85 Voelcker Scholars. The outcome of the program will be the development of a pool of highly competitive students in San Antonio who successfully pursue future careers in biomedical research in our community.
In addition to competing in the annual Atonement Academy Science Fair, several academy students go on to participate in regional and national fairs. Our students have participated in the following:
- Alamo Regional Academy of Science and Engineering (ARASE) Science Fair
- Exxon-Mobil Science and Engineering Fair
- Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, Rising Stars)
- I-SWEEEP Olympiad -an international environmental science fair held in Houston, TX)
Participants have garnered the following awards:
- Ricoh Sustainable Development Award
- Genius Olympiad: Exceptional Genius Award
- I-SWEEP 2011 Outstanding Sustainability Award
- United States Air Force Award of Recognition for Outstanding Project in Science and Engineering
- Director’s Award
Middle School Courses
- Earth Science
- Life Science
- Integrated Physics & Chemistry
6th Grade Year
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills introduced by examining basic processes in the earth sciences. The use of theories and hypotheses will be examined using theories such as the origin and history of the earth, plate tectonics, rock cycle, meteorology, astronomy. Basic laboratory skills and safety procedures will be introduced and practiced.
7th Grade Year
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills extended by examining concepts in the life sciences. These include the flow and cycling of energy and matter in ecosystems, community interactions, evolutionary theory, classification, structure/function relation-ships in human, animal, and plant systems. Introductory laboratory skills.
8th Grade Year
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills extended by examining introductory concepts including: matter and its states, atomic structure and its relationships, use of periodic table, balancing equations, forces and kinetics, electromagnetism, optics, and thermodynamics. Intermediate laboratory skills.
Upper School Courses
- Biology I
- AP Biology
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills will be extended by examining advanced concepts in systems biology, including biochemical principles, cell structure and function, use of energy in biological systems, molecular and Mendelian genetics, population genetics and natural selection, ecology, and anatomy and physiology. Intermediate laboratory skills.
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills extended by advanced study of the history, fundamental concepts, theories, and principles of chemistry. Topics include the Atomic Theory, Particle Theory of Matter, chemical reactions, use of electron dot diagrams and other structural formulas, use of oxidation states to predict re-activity, acid-base chemistry, electrochemistry, and energy transfer and thermodynamics in chemical systems. Advanced laboratory skills.
Use of the scientific method and research and communications skills extended by advanced study of the history, fundamental concepts, theories, and principles of physics. Topics include Newtonian mechanics, Relativity, atomic structure and states of matter, wave mechanics, electromagnetism, atomic and nuclear physics, Quantum mechanics, and energy transfer and thermodynamics as they affect physical systems. Algebra, trigonometry and geography skills are required. Advanced laboratory skills.
AP* Physics and AP* Biology are college-level courses of the science, fundamental concepts, theories, and principles as applied through the four “Big Ideas” specified by the College Board. Advanced laboratory skills.
Earth Science is an advanced, capstone course examining the behavior of the earth using theories presented in the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics courses. The geologic, atmospheric, hydrologic, and astronomic systems will be covered.