“Out of a strong pool of highly qualified candidates, Dr. Cola stood out from the start,” said Mary Zervigon, Board Chair, Advocates for Science & Mathematics Education Inc. “We are thrilled to have such a committed, experienced and passionate STEM leader and cannot wait to see what the future holds for Sci High under her leadership.”
A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Joseph S. Clark High School, Dr. Cola earned her B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Pitzer College in Claremont, California, before returning home to Louisiana where she earned a M.S. degree in Pathology from Louisiana State University and Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tulane University.
“As a scientist-educator and an early supporter of Sci High, I am honored to be the new head of Sci High,” said Dr. Cola. I am eager to take my passion for STEM-focused educational pursuits to a new level for the students at Sci High.”
Dr. Cola previously served as Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs /Executive Dean at Delgado Community College where she designed programs to improve student retention and led initiatives to increase the number of high school students participating in Dual Enrollment courses at Delgado. Prior to that, she was the Director of the Biology Resource Center at Xavier University, as well as the first African American faculty member in Tulane University’s Neuroscience Program.
“Dr. Cola’s demonstrated commitment to active outreach and helping students reach academic and career goals has been unwavering and is consistent with the mission and vision of Sci High to provide a comprehensive education with deep emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math that prepares students for success in college, careers and life,” said Zervigon. “She has over 23 years of experience conducting scientific research and more than ten years of experience teaching and implementing educational programs.”
In addition to her work as a cognitive neuroscientist, Dr.Cola has worked with the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) and has instructed faculty and administrators in best practices to increase student access and create equitable learning in Career and Technical Education (CTE) and STEM careers.
The search and selection process began last winter, and Dr. Cola was named Principal on April 26 by the Advocates for Science & Mathematics Education Inc. in a unanimous vote.
For more information on Sci High, go to www.noscihigh.com.
Sci High offers students cutting-edge and industry-focused STEM electives. Sci High was given the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation’s Class Nobel School of Distinction Award for its academic efforts. Students have access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, summer internships, and robotics courses. Sci High is the only public school in New Orleans to offer all three industry pathways of the Project Lead the Way courses: Engineering, Biomedical Science, and Computer Science and boasts a new Makerspace for student exploration. Sci High features small class sizes in an encouraging, respectful atmosphere in an academically rigorous public school setting. Sci High dedicates many resources to supporting the whole child, through counseling support, a health clinic, tutoring and enrichment programs, and student-centered initiatives and training.