Learn more about ORCA college research program at Lynnwood Inspirus Credit Union

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Everett Community College students are making a big splash in a marine science ORCA (Ocean Research College Academy) Program, and local residents can find out more about the program at Inspirus Credit Union in Lynnwood.

Parents, kids, college bound students and other community members are welcome to stop by the credit union branch (3405 188th St. S.W., Ste. 201) to learn more about the program and how students are earning their Associate’s degrees at the same time as high school graduation.

Students at the college are getting a one-of-a-kind experience in STEM education through the ORCA Program.

This tuition-free early college academy takes the concept of Running Start for high school juniors and seniors and pairs it with an immersive program in which all core subjects – from English to math to humanities – are taught in a small learning community centered on marine research in the Puget Sound. On completion of the program, students not only graduate from high school but earn an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree from Everett Community College.

Inspirus Credit Union donated $2,345 to support materials and supplies the ORCA program uses each year.

“It’s our mission to give back to education, and ORCA exemplifies the kind of innovation that truly inspires the scientists, educators, and problem-solvers of tomorrow,” said Inspirus Vice President of Marketing Sherry Lotze. “We honored to shine a spotlight on this one-of-a-kind program that’s a model for the nation.”

Since its first graduating class in 2006, ORCA has been the springboard for students who’ve achieved international success in science careers, including 2009 graduate Tajanna Stinn, who recently earned a Master of Science in Immunology from King’s College London.

“I not only gained experience in science and writing to prepare me for medical school, but I also learned to appreciate the humanities, which helped me grow as a conceptual thinker and person,” Stinn said.

Over the last year, the program has grown by 50 percent, and is continuing to spark interest among young scientists.

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