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In gearing up for the grand opening of their new science facility for the upcoming school year, Piner High School students went to Medtronic last week for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Awareness Day.

Students were able to tinker with the valves of a dissected pig’s heart, analyze the caffeine content of power drinks using a gas/mass spectrophometer and other gizmos. Medtronic staged a product fair to let students see coronary stents, endovascular stent grafts, percutaneous heart valves, renal denervation systems and various catheter delivery systems.

“All of these engineers were passionate about what they do in their jobs and willing to share the challenges they faced to help students see the rewards at the end of a STEM major in college,” said Piner teacher Dante De Paola.

Piner has three science-based pathways: Geospatial Technology, Health Science and Biotechnology. A MAKE physics program will be offered in 2013-14.