A day in the life: Mia Coronado

It’s 7 a.m. While some people are still pressing snooze on their alarms, Mia Coronado, senior, meets three other KHS students and they drive 20 minutes to their first class of the day at the CAPS campus. These four are a part of the St. Louis Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) engineering program. Mia walks into the building wearing dress pants and a sweater, not the typical sweatpants and a sweatshirt most students wear. 

“We are expected to dress professional and act professional every day we go in,” Mia said. “[You can’t wear] leggings or hoodies, anything like that. It’s expected to dress nice and prepare for having to dress and act a certain way in the future.”

There are seven other people in her engineering class, three from KHS and the other four from STL area high schools. During class periods Mia said they have learned how to interview with professionals, make a resume and write thank you emails. She said you learn how to act professional, which you do not learn in normal high school classes.

“It has better prepared me for the future for sure,” Mia said. “I get practice interviews with engineers, I’ve made connections with engineers, [and] I’ve created my own LinkedIn account.”

Cindy Coronado, Mia’s mom, first found out about CAPS through an email which gave them basic information about the program. There was an opportunity to visit the campus when class was in session last year. After visiting and learning about it she soon realized CAPS was the right fit for her daughter. 

I feel better prepared for the future.”

— Mia Coronado

“[Mia] is a hands on learner, she does best when she’s moving around, creating, making things, doing things,” Cindy said. “When she has an opportunity that lends itself more to her learning style she’s always going to take that opportunity, and this was one that made a lot of sense. She also took all of the engineering classes and luckily we have a ton of them at the high school, but the ones that were of most interest to her she took as a freshman and sophomore and junior, so she kind of ran out of things to take.”

At the beginning of the year, Mia went on a one-on-one job shadows with an engineer at Essex Industries for about two hours once every week. In class, she works on Project Lead the Way (PLTW) projects, shadows engineers and tours engineering workplaces. Most of the time Coronado is in class working on projects.

“We go on a lot of tours of some engineering firms like Boeing, Monsanto/Bayer, Microsoft or Hydromats, a variety of cool places to get exposure to real world engineering,” Mia said. “We often get to talk to engineers from those places and we also have mini projects in class based off the PLTW website.”

“I feel better prepared for the future,” Mia said. “I think I have a huge advantage over others because of that. Even if I hated engineering, at least I would know that I hated it from this program.”

Mia’s CAPS engineering teacher, Josh Luebbehusen, has been a part of the CAPS program since it’s beginning at Afton High School. He said in class they do activities that will prepare students for the real world. 

“[CAPS] gave me the opportunity to step out of the typical classroom and give students the opportunity for a more real world experience,” Luebbehusen said. “I thought it would be a valuable opportunity and I think it has been a great program so far.”


Mia’s Schedule:

7:00- arrive at school and meet three other Kirkwood students to carpool to CAPS campus

7:25- arrives at CAPS campus

7:30- class starts

7:30-10:30- at CAPS campus for engineering class

10:30-11:25- travel period

11:31-12:19- Calculus

12:20-12:51- lunch

12:57-1:45- AP Physics 

1:51-2:40- English