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This four-year program prepares students for an engineering curriculum in college and potential future careers in engineering using hands-on, real-world problem-solving.

Founded in the fall of 2013 by former NASA engineer Dr. Jan Kilduff, the Engineering Magnet Program emphasizes hands-on laboratory experiments and project-based learning. Engineering Magnet students enjoy and are fascinated with the process of building intricate things and taking them apart.

Dr. Kilduff's extensive background in the sciences and engineering (including employment at Lockheed Martin, NASA, Westinghouse, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency) and dedication to teaching ensures that all Engineering Magnet students are exposed to a variety of engineering specializations (e.g., aerospace, chemical, industrial, civil, chemical, electrical). This exposure helps program graduates able to make informed decisions about pursuing their engineering studies in college.

Group photo of 34 Engineering Magnet Students casually dressed in khakis and t-shirts smiling in the sun.

The field of engineering is so broad that there is plenty of room for inquisitive minds to do great things and achieve success.

Dr. Jan Kilduff

Engineering Magnet students learn and apply the design process using a 3D CAD software called "AutoDesk Professional" in their freshman year, acquire strong teamwork and communication proficiency, and develop organizational, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills

4-Year Plan

The Engineering Magnet Program curriculum gives students the opportunity to hone in on their interest in an engineering field. Learn more by downloading the sample 4-year plan below.


Program costs and requirements

  • 9th grade: Intro to Engineering Design H (year), Algebra 1 Honors and Geometry together OR Geometry in summer or online summer and fall, $1,000
  • 10th grade: Principals of Engineering H (year), Algebra 2 or Algebra 2 Honors, $1,000
  • 11th grade: Choose one year-long course: Aerospace Engineering Honors, Civil Engineering and Architecture Honors, Computer Integrated Manufacturing Honors, Digital Electronics Honors, $1,000
  • 12th grade: Choose one year-long course not taken the previous year: Aerospace Engineering Honors, Civil Engineering and Architecture Honors, Computer Integrated Manufacturing Honors, Digital Electronics Honors, $1,000

It is recommended that incoming 9th grade Engineering Magnet students take First Year Seminar and Health during the summer.

JSerra students are required to complete classes in the Fine Arts.

Engineering Magnet fees will be billed to your FACTS account.

"I feel confident as a young woman that the Engineering Magnet Program will prepare me for incredible opportunities in STEM fields. This program has not only broadened my awareness but also created valuable experiences for future careers."

~ Isabella '19


Additional Requirements & Applying

Additional Requirements


Entering 9th grade students must at a minimum place into Algebra I Honors based on their HSPT Mathematics & Composite scores with the requirement that they be enrolled in Algebra II or Algebra II Honors by the start of their sophomore year.

Students only testing into Algebra I Honors must choose from one of the options listed below*

  1. Complete Geometry either concurrently in their freshman year.
  2. Complete Geometry the summer following their freshman year.
  3. Complete the first semester of Geometry online the summer following their freshman year as well as the 2nd semester of Geometry online the fall of their sophomore year (concurrently with an Algebra II class to remain in the program).

*Students not completing one of the above will not be permitted to enroll in the 2nd year Principals of Engineering course.

Admitted Engineering Magnet students wishing to test beyond Algebra I Honors as a freshman may take the JSerra Math Placement Exam, offered in May, to determine if they qualify for placement directly into Geometry Honors, Algebra II Honors.

*Students testing above Algebra I Honors by the JSerra Mathematics Exam are not affected.


JSerra now requires the Class of 2024 bring laptops that have touch screens with a digitizer pen. Please see Laptop Requirements for additional information.

For students particularly interested in the Engineering Magnet Program, a computer with at least 8 GB of memory is strongly recommended rather than the 4GB as recommended on the website.


We are now taking Engineering Magnet Program applications for the 2024-2025 school year. The application is below on this page.

Once your application to the school and the program have been reviewed, you will be notified via email.



Magnet Priority Application Deadline: January 15, 2024
Decision Date: March 1, 2024
Contract Return Deadline: March 8, 2024

Acceptance into the Engineering Magnet Program is dependent upon your enrollment in JSerra. Students accepted into the Engineering Magnet Program but not enrolled in JSerra by March 8, 2024 will be deferred for students who are enrolled and accepted into the program. (Apply to JSerra here.)


If you have questions about our program or the application process, please contact Engineering Magnet Program Director Dr. Samuel Lardy at slardy@jserra.org.


PLTW Distinguished School

Project Lead the Way Logo

JSerra Catholic High School is recognized as a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW.



2023 College Decisions

Air Force Academy
Cal Baptist
California State University Fullerton
Colorado School of Mines
Franciscan University
High Point University
Hofstra University
Oregon State
Penn State
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 
Rose-Hulman Technology
Saddleback College
Texas Christian University
UC Davis 
University of Denver
University of Illinois Urbana Champagne 
University of Vermont


Dr. Samuel Lardy
Program Director

"I think when [colleges] saw what I had done in the Engineering Magnet, they knew I was serious about going into that field and that I wouldn't be wasting my time."

~ Ian '18

Read Ian's Story