Laurel Ridge Hosts Hundreds of High Schoolers at STEM Day

For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2016

Primary Media Contact:
Sally Voth
Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]
Phone: 540-868-7134


Laurel Ridge today hosted about 200 high school juniors from around the region who learned how an Laurel Ridge education can help them land a career in the booming STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The students were divided into smaller groups and visited various parts of the college to learn about


A Strasburg High School student learns about jobs in cyber security.

opportunities in a wide variety of occupations, including cyber security, surgical technology, dental hygiene and chemistry. 

“We want students to be familiar with STEM jobs,” said Brenda Byard, dean of academic, student affairs and outreach at Laurel Ridge. “We also want to make sure that we get girls introduced to our what our STEM fields are and what’s available at Laurel Ridge.”

It’s estimated that there will be 8 million STEM jobs in the U.S. by 2018, but many U.S. students lack the preparation for them.

Strasburg High School student Megan Cales enjoyed learning about the surgical technology program, which she thought was “pretty cool.”

“I’m pretty interested in all of the sciences, so I think it’s pretty cool [to have the STEM event, I’m] really interested in biology and surgery,” Megan said. “[Attending] Laurel Ridge is going to be one of my options.”

Computer science professor Melissa Stange said the high schoolers were asking her plenty of questions about what pathways they need to take to get into their chosen career.

“It’s our opportunity not to sell our programs, but to sell the careers and the professions, which is the important piece,” she said. “We’re hopefully making that connection for how it all intertwines.” 

For more information about STEM and other opportunities at Laurel Ridge, visit, or call 540-868-7161.


Founded in 1970, Laurel Ridge Community College is a multi-campus public institution of higher education. With four locations — Middletown, Warrenton, Luray-Page County and most recently, Vint Hill— the College serves eight localities in the Shenandoah Valley and northern Piedmont regions. The localities are the counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren and the city of Winchester. Laurel Ridge offers more than 75 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines, in addition to providing access to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs offered on site by a four-year institution. Laurel Ridge also serves the business community by offering workforce preparation programs for employees and employers. Laurel Ridge serves more than 9,000 unduplicated credit students and more than 11,000 individuals in professional development and business and industry courses annually.

Laurel Ridge Community College (Laurel Ridge) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Laurel Ridge Community College. Laurel Ridge Community College is an equal opportunity institution providing educational and employment opportunities, programs, services, and activities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, religion, disability, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or other non-merit factors. Laurel Ridge also prohibits sexual misconduct including sexual violence or harassment.

Laurel Ridge Community College was known as Lord Fairfax Community College until June 2022. For consistency purposes, the college will be referenced as Laurel Ridge going forward.