Jessica Violette Guest Speaker at Tyler Technologies University of Maine’s Pathways to Careers Initiative

Photo: Left-Right; Governor of Maine Janet Mills, NYA Upper School Science & Math Teacher Jessica Violette, UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. Photo Credit: Whitney J. Fox Photography

Yarmouth, Maine, February 29, 2024: North Yarmouth Academy (NYA) Upper School science and mathematics teacher, Jessica Violette, was a guest speaker on Monday at Tyler Technologies’ event to announce and celebrate an extended partnership with the University of Maine’s Pathways to Careers initiative.

Violette has taken full advantage of the resources provided by Tyler Technologies, and she was asked to share her perspective and the student experience with the Maine App Challenge, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) tours at UMaine, and having NYA students enrolled in the Fundamentals of Innovation online course at UMaine.

Also in attendance at the event was Governor Janet Mills; UMaine President, Joan Ferrini-Mundy; and Tyler Technologies president, ERP & Civic Division, Chris Webster, who discussed how these outreach programs aim to engage Maine high school students in STEM-related careers and education opportunities in our state.

Last year, 17 of Violette’s NYA students participated in Tyler Technologies’ Maine App Challenge, showcasing their skills and creativity through the development of unique mobile apps. Violette expressed how excited the students were as they worked on their apps. “With so many students all working on different codes, there were lots of challenges the students had to overcome, but the staff at Tyler was always available to answer questions, and with their support, the students felt the sky was the limit,” she explained.

Violette added an Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course to her offerings at NYA two years ago. She likes that the class is accessible to a wide range of students because the only official prerequisite is Algebra 1. “It’s a unique AP course. No prior coding experience is needed, and in addition to learning the foundations of computing, there is a significant emphasis on creativity and innovation, which is why it pairs so well with the [Maine] App Challenge,” said Violette.

Tyler Technologies, based in Plano, TX with offices in Yarmouth, advocates for STEM in Maine and keeping Maine-based students in the state. Another part of the program is a trip to Orono to tour UMaine’s engineering and computer science departments. Tyler Technologies took care of all the tour costs and logistics of the trip, allowing the students to experience the variety of research projects happening at the school. According to Violette, “many of the students didn’t realize that the school has an R1 research designation and were in awe of the extent of the projects they got to see on the tour.”

Two students are participating in a new program this year that allows high school students to take Fundamentals of Innovation, an online course at UMaine. Once successfully completed, it will earn them college credits. Charlotte McLatchy, who plans to study computer science at UMaine is taking the class. “I am really glad that I have the opportunity to take this class. As this is my first college and online class, I felt that this was a good opportunity for me to get a feel for what I can expect when I head off to college. I feel like my transition into this class has been easier because I have been able incorporate many learning skills I have learned from NYA. I am excited to expand my knowledge in STEM,” said McLatchy.