CHS graduate is first to receive STEM diploma

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Andrew Gotschall

Andrew Gotschall, a 2020 graduate of Carrollton High School (CHS), Is the first CHS senior to earn a STEM Honors Diploma.
Gotschall was a graduate with distinction and earned an honors diploma. He was a four-year member of the CHS Academic Hall of Fame, a four-year tri-athlete, scholar athlete and a member of the National Honor Society. He graduated fourth in his class with a 3.96 GPA while taking every advanced science and math class offered at CHS, along with other required classes.
In an email received from Wes Frew, a CHS science teacher, he stated, “I would like to take the opportunity to make you aware of an accomplishment that one of our CHS seniors recently received. In Ohio, students have an option to go above and beyond the requirements to receive a diploma, and in doing so, can receive special recognition.”

To receive a STEM Honors Diploma, a student must meet all but one of the following criteria (unless it is a minimum graduation requirement): math, 5 units; science, 5 units, including two units of advanced science; social studies, three units; fine arts, one unit; and electives, two units with a focus in STEM. The student must carry a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and score a 27 or higher on the ACT test or 1280 or higher on the SAT test. They must complete a field experience and document the experience in a portfolio specific to the student’s area of focus and develop a comprehensive portfolio of work based on the student’s field experience or a topic that is related to the student’s area of focus.
Gotschall was pronounced gifted in math and science in the elementary school. In 8th grade, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
“That diagnosis sparked my interest in entering the medical field,” Gotschall stated. “Being pronounced gifted, I have a natural ability for math and science, being diagnosed pointed me in the direction for a career.”
During high school, he was named Bell Herron “Most Outstanding Student in Chemistry II, received the Baush+Lomb Science Award (University of Rochester) and was runner-up at the Regional Biomed Symposium in 2018.
As a junior (2018-2019 school year) he won first place and “Best of Show” for his “Glowing Insulin” project at the Biomedical Symposium at Buckeye Career Center. He was the first Carrollton student to be inducted into the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Hall of Fame. This honors students who excel in Biomed and receive high recognition/ratings for their STEM projects at the symposium.
Along with a full course load at school, he participated in sports all four years and is very active with community service.
“I learned how to time manage,” Gotschall explained when asked how he was able to “do everything”. “I sacrificed a lot, but it was never a chore. I was at home and not out with my friends, but it is my passion.”
A typical day during his senior year was school, practice, straight home to shower and eat and then study.
“I feel I am prepared for college,” he added. “Carrollton has done well preparing me.”
To fulfill the field experience criterion for a STEM Honors Diploma, a student must complete a learning experience that is pertinent to his or her honors diploma area of focus. Experiential learning is focused on the application of academic and technical skills within a student’s program of study. Experiential learning includes lab-based activities, co-op, simulated workplace, mentorships, internships, pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeships. Lab based experiential learning simulates real-work worksites and expectations.
Work contained in a portfolio documents the student’s extensive knowledge and technical, critical-thinking and creative skills. Portfolios must be reviewed and validated by external experts.
Putting his portfolio together was fun. “It was like walking down memory lane looking back at all I’ve done,” said Gotschall.
“To receive (a STEM Honors Diploma) takes extra dedication over several years of high school course work along with a lot of dedication, especially coming down the home stretch with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Frew stated.
This fall, Andrew will attend The Ohio State University (OSU) as a member of the Biomedical Science (BMS) major. He applied to the university and then applied to the BMS program, which required extensive interviews. Only 26 freshmen are admitted to the program.
“This year was the largest pool of applicants they have had for the program,” he said, noting the program is a stepping stone to medical school. “I will begin research as early as second semester of my freshman year, instead of my junior year.”
He plans to research Type 1 Diabetes. After he graduates from the BMS program, he plans to acquire a “MD/PhD” to be a medical doctor and do research.
Gotschall learned he received a Superior on his science fair project (Sequencing the Key to Autotrophic Glycolysis in Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus and Abarabidopsis thaliana) at the Ohio District 13 Science Fair held at Mt. Union University. The project scored a perfect 40 and a 39 out of 40 points and advanced to the state competition at OSU. Virtual judging began May 26 and runs through June 2. Results should be posted June 12.
His science fair project involved harvesting genes from different plants. Using DNA, he went to the molecular level to the specific gene that plants have to have to live. His results were 99.1 percent similar to the nationally known data base GenBank. Gotschall’s research may be published on the database under his name.
“Mr. Frew and Mrs. Incerpi are rock stars. They are the real deal. They have been great for me, along with the entire administration (at Carrollton High School),” Gotschall stated. “OSU was impressed with what our little school offers.”
Gotschall is the son of Gregg and Wendy Gotschall of Carrollton.

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