Thursday, June 11, 2015

Standout student: WHS junior balances academics, work experience and career exploration

WHS junior Riley Coffman is an expert at time management. Not only does he currently have a 4.0 GPA, he also holds down a part-time job at Lutz Hardware in Camas, working approximately 16 hours per week. Riley is also a participant in the rigorous and highly competitive Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS) program.  WAS is a two-part program for high school juniors focused on topics in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

After successfully completing phase one of the WAS program (a five-month distance learning course designed in partnership with NASA and the University of Washington), Riley will attain five college credits through U.W. As one of the program’s top scorers with an overall grade of 88%, he has been invited to attend the summer phase two portion of this program, a six-day summer residency in Seattle working with Boeing and NASA engineers.

“Riley is a very self-driven individual that continues to amaze his father and myself every day,” said his mother, Jessica Coffman. “We are so proud of him, we are bursting at the seams.”

Riley says that good time management helps him juggle his busy schedule. “I just set priorities for myself and try to take everything in bite-sized chunks,” he said. “I do homework every night but I alternate the nights I work with nights I participate in WAS. I just take it one step at a time.”

Participating in WAS has sparked in interest in engineering for Riley, who thinks he may pursue a career in electrical or computer engineering. “I knew I wanted to do something with science and math,” he said. “But I now know that I love engineering.”

Riley says parental support was key to his success. “My parents played a big part in helping motivate me during stressful times,” he said. “It’s as much their success as it is mine. They’ve always been there to support me and to tell me it’s ok to have fun too.”

Riley currently has Mr. Bennett as a Physics teacher and Mr. Anderson for Pre-Calculus.