What is ARL?

High school students of Howard County explore and prepare for their future career paths.

Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) is the place where Howard County Students go to learn from specialized courses that are not offered at their regular home school. High school juniors and seniors with similar interests come together to learn about possible career fields.

Located near the Howard County Board of Education building, ARL offers a wide range of different specialized courses, from STEM-focused courses such as the Biotechnology Academy, art-focused courses such as the Academy of Graphic Design, to career-focused courses such as the Academy of Finance and the Foundations of Healthcare. 

Andrew Cho, a junior at Centennial High School, is currently enrolled in Foundations of Healthcare as he intends to go into the healthcare field as a profession. “It’s beneficial not only because you are learning what you need but also you can get official documentation of certification from the two years in this program”, describes Cho. 

ARL is known for being advantageous to students who are aiming to go into specific professional field as it provides hands-on experiences, mentorship opportunities, and certifications. Cho finds that the most unique part of his course is being able to get hands-on practice with the medical dummies.

Srinidhi Gadiyaram, a junior at Centennial High School, is enrolled in the Biotechnology Academy and is planning to continue going into senior year. Gadiyaram prepares to pursue a career in the medical field after going to college in Europe. 

“I enjoy the course, and I would recommend it to anyone that’s definitely interested in math and science”, explains Gadiyaram, “the classes are held at a professional science and research building, furthermore creating a professional class environment. It’s a lot different compared to Centennial as there are smaller groups and much easier ways to bond with everyone.” There are many unique things about ARL but for Gadiyaram it is the lab and access to researchers.

Through the years that ARL has been open to students, it has been successful. Students all around Howard county, especially at Centennial High School, have loved it. 

“Working with people with different backgrounds from all over Howard County has definitely been an interesting and rewarding experience”, says Nithya Parepally, a junior at Centennial High School.

Parepally is enrolled in the Aerospace Engineering Academy and is looking to pursue a future in Engineering and Computer Science. “This curriculum is designed to teach high school students about the basics of engineering, but additionally, introduces projects and technical skills that would not be traditionally be taught in an in-school setting”, explains Parepally. 

A special feature about the program is their collaborative nature. “I’m used to working more independently on all my assignments but this experience has definitely encouraged me to improve my collaboration skills. Being one of five girls in a class with around 30 students, this collaboration has also taught me to voice my ideas in a traditionally underrepresented environment”, describes Parepally. 

The Aerospace Engineering Academy extends on the PLTW curriculum that is taught at home schools, through specialized projects such as designing and building model rockets.
“Additionally, since many of us are passionate about pursuing engineering, this course focuses a lot more on preparing us for essential professional skills such as communication and public speaking”, concludes Parepally. 

Howard County provides students with an environment to learn, collaborate, and create projects to prepare them for their professional future post high school.

“I think that ARL is a great opportunity for students who get to learn about different opportunities for specific fields that you want to get into that you don’t really learn in school,” concludes Cho.


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