Future Doctors in the Making: STEAMing Brains  


Antonella Velasquez, Writer

Immaculata-La Salle has multiple attractive features like it’s beautiful bayside vista, solid sports teams, and dedicated faculty, but above all, ILS offers students the chance of a lifetime through its STEAM program, including subjects like science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. ILS has focus groups on engineering, digital arts, global business leadership, health science, legal studies, and  fitness and sports. One of the most popular STEAM programs IS the health science group which also participates in one of the school’s biggest clubs, HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America).

STEAM is a four-year program with many requirements including a 3.0 gpa, four math and four science credits as well as four credits in STEAM electives, and 1 credit in a fine or practical art. STEAM members are also asked to maintain membership in at least one ILS club or honor society. Lastly, must participate in off-campus activities and compete with other schools. For example, the health sciences focus requires participants to volunteer at Mercy Hospital. Fortunately for them, Mercy is right next door.

One of the leading faculty members in the health science focus group is Mr. James Rydborn.

“The STEAM program here at ILS is what has set us apart from a lot of other schools. We are constantly looking at ways to give our students the best knowledge and instruction that we can provide, all why doing it in an area that those students are interested in,” he explained.

Mr Rydborn, Health Sciences Moderator

 The ILS  STEAM program continues to open doors for students who feel they have already found their focus for their future. It allows students to get the push needed to pursue their dreams at a very young age.

“The idea that I teach what I enjoy makes life a lot easier, I take my life experiences within the health world, and the sports world, and share those with my students, bringing in as many real world scenarios as possible while also teaching them through the different aspects of STEAM itself. Health, sports and fitness is pretty much all I have studied my whole life, so being able to discuss that with my students makes for a fun time,” said Mr. Rydborn.

Currently, employment in STEM fields is close to 80% ever since the 1990’s in US, let alone around the world. Those in STEM have close to a 26% increase in pay compared to those in non-STEM fields. 

“Its hard to give a specific reason as to why people should join STEAM, but helping to give them a leg up in their future in an area that they have an interest can only be a positive,” said Mr. Rydborn.

Mr Rydborn teaches the Health Sciences STEAM focus at ILS where students examine how a hospital runs as well as health and fitness, anatomy, physiology and then finally, skills specific to nursing.  

“During their time in the focus, kids will become trained in First aid/CPR and AED (automated external defribrillator) from the American Red Cross and also when they graduate have the skills to take the CNA (certified nursing assistant) test,” said Mr. Rydborn.

Health Sciences STEAM also holds hands with the HOSA club where students compete in medical subjects as well as presentation, investigation, and other group work. 

As a school, ILS is very proud of the students who took it upon themselves to excel, to grow, and to succeed.

“HOSA is the ealth science club here at ILS. It is an international club that competes from the district level all the way through the national and international level. The students can essentially compete in any area of health that they can think of. There are many different fields to choose, from hands-on, to writing, to presentation where they can compete. This is something at which we have become quite successful at both the state and national level,” said Mr Rydborn.

“I chose the Health Science steam in hopes of becoming a doctor when I’m older, and to get more in-depth experience into the field,” said sophomore Sabrina Samaniego. 

Overall, Students in the Health Sciences focus group enjoy having Mr Rydborn as they learn more about their future career.