Teaching Tomorrow’s STEM Leaders in Science Hall

The Maritime EDIT - Volume 19 | Winter 2021/2022

Teresa Keenan has always wanted to be a pediatrician. She is now 17 years old, and it’s a goal she knows she can achieve.

“Thanks to the values my parents instilled in me and their support in choosing a path that truly interests me, I want to dedicate my life to helping people,” she says. “That means working in the medical field.” She credits RNS in Rothesay, New Brunswick, for giving her the confidence to pursue such a challenging career. “In the new Science Hall building, I’ve been able to take my understanding of biology to the next level, which has grown my love of medicine even more. I have developed the skills I need to succeed in university, and then medical school, because of the opportunities within these walls.”

Keenan is part of the RNS graduating class of 2022 — some of the first students to benefit from Science Hall, a landmark addition to the RNS campus. Opened in September 2021, Science Hall is a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility for excellence in innovation and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum and one of the finest academic buildings in the country.

“Science Hall is an incredible space for teaching and learning integrated STEM disciplines with a real-world, applied approach,” says Paul McLellan, RNS head of school. “The generous support of the donor to honour the ‘Mighty Class of 1946’ allows for even more innovative teaching by our faculty and contributes to the unique and exceptional experiences we provide our students. Science Hall is igniting curiosity, fuelling the desire for discovery, and ultimately inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders.”

Thirteen cutting-edge STEM learning spaces, chemistry labs, biology labs, an innovation studio, and a makerspace comprise this incredible academic environment. “Using a Georgian-Collegiate architectural style, Science Hall is made of a red-brick facade, sandstone accents, huge windows, glass walls and rich wood. Those elements combine to bring to life a building that is flooded with bright, natural light and a very warm feeling,” says project architect Malcolm Boyd of Murdoch & Boyd Architects. “The result is a tremendous space for learning.” Science Hall was expertly constructed by world-leading construction and building services firm EllisDon.

Concealed within the walls and ceilings of Science Hall is the latest mechanical, electrical and communications technology. “That was necessary to meet the school’s high educational standards,” adds Boyd. Tammy Earle, RNS director of technology and learning initiatives, notes that high-tech integration is crucial for educating students in the ever-evolving fields of STEM.

“Our interactive SMART boards are used in such a way that they provide instantly digitized, interactive, engaging learning,” she says. “Lessons are immediately uploaded into our portal so students can access, refer to and review curriculum whenever they need it. The breakout rooms in Science Hall are teaching students study skills, how to collaborate effectively, and be independent learners that are ready for university.” Science Hall’s Innovation Studio is a living lab of hand-on STEM learning: “Students are making traffic lights, as an example — using CAD design software, the 3D printer, coding, robotics and circuit-building. The development of problem-solving skills and creative thinking within a STEM framework is invaluable,” says Earle.

Rothesay Netherwood School is housed on 125-acres in one of Canada’s safest and most beautiful places. Its extensive campus allows the school to expand its facilities, such as the addition of Science Hall, to meet the changing needs of its students. “One of our key priorities is investing in high-quality facilities and introducing innovative technology and programming,” says McLellan. “The culture of philanthropy we have cultivated over our 145-year history has allowed us to revitalize our campus and make investments in it that will benefit RNS graduates for years to come.”

An RNS education leads to success at university, treasured friendships and memories, and a life of meaning and purpose.

“The gift of Science Hall will help me become the best student I can be in my final year at RNS,” says Keenan. “I’m also confident that learning in this space will have a direct impact on my life and the lives of the children I hope to help in the future.”