The Poway High School Engineering Academy and Pathway is an award winning Nationally Recognized Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Distinguished School and one of 13 Certified PLTW Engineering Program schools in the state of California, which allows 9-12 grade students to take up to 14 Engineering Academy courses for college or university credit side-by-side with an after school Robotics (FIRST Robotics Team Spyder 1622) or Science Olympiad course. There are three areas of focus in the Academy and Pathway, namely, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Architecture, and Computer Engineering, and students interested in this exploratory route can enroll in an engineering course while becoming college ready and receiving college credits and must attend PHS or submit a request to transfer and be accepted. Since the Academy/Pathway opened its doors in 2013, it is now supported by over 20 industrial partners and sponsors, and students have received over 1000 awards in design, architecture, engineering and robotics.
As an integral part of the Academy, FIRST Robotics – Team Spyder 1622 provides up to 70 students with a 21-century learning environment working with students, industrial partners and adult mentors as part of their team. Students learn all aspects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by building a 120-pound autonomous and radio-controlled robot in 6 weeks to compete amongst other high school teams worldwide. Team Spyder conducts over 150 outreach events locally serving the Underrepresented, Underserved and Vulnerable Youth, also globally in Paraguay, Benin, and Mexico to broaden STEM educational training for K-12 students across the globe.