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The winners of the Sally Ride-Deloitte 2014-15 Award for Teaching Innovation in STEM have been announced! First, a huge thank you to all who participated. We are thrilled to have all your innovations on STEM Central and to continue sharing them with the world.
Our first-place finisher is Ryan York, a teacher in the RePublic Charter Schools organization in Tennessee and Mississippi, who earned a $5,000 cash prize and a Sally Ride STEM License for the school of his choice.
Ryan's innovation — a free, open-source computer programming curriculum and teacher training program—was hailed by the judges as one that "fills a practical need and looks toward the future," and that "hopes to shatter the statistic that not a single female, African-American, or Latino student took the AP Computer Science Exam in Mississippi."
Our two second-place finishers were Nancy Smith, of Bentwood Elementary in Overland Park, Kansas, and Ji Ahn of Hunters Woods Elementary in Reston, Virginia. Each earned a $2,500 cash prize and a Sally Ride STEM License for the school(s) of their choice.
Ji's innovation is a multifaceted program developed to introduce girls to the engineering design process through a series of hands-on, problem-based design challenges and enable them to meet female engineers through a guest speakers series. Judges said it "parallels what Sally Ride Science is trying to do" and shows "a direct influence in the career choice of participants."
Nancy's innovation helps students embrace concepts of force, motion, push and pull through discussion, hands-on activities, center rotations, and use of the iPad (using an architectural version of the "Three Little Pigs" story as a springboard for students designing and creating their own houses). Judges called it an "exciting engineering science that involves parents and is locally relevant" and "a fun way to address balanced and unbalanced forces in an engineering challenge."
There were five third-place finishers as well, who will each be receiving a $1,000 cash prize for a school of their choosing:
Jennifer Baker of Hoffmann Elementary in San Antonio, Texas.
Explore her innovation, STEAM Team.
Carmela Bertrand of Rippon Middle School in Woodbridge, Virginia.
Explore her innovation, Stock Market Project.
Lauren Dykstra of Holcomb Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Explore her innovation, Baking & Making Money.
Emilie Taylor of Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
Explore her innovation, Age of Exploration Boat Design.
Teresa Van Dunk of Salmon River Middle School in Fort Covington, New York.
Explore her innovation, STEM Agbotics - Agricultural Robotics in the North Country.
Thank you once again to all the educators who submitted! And thank you to Deloitte for being the funding sponsor of the first-ever Sally Ride-Deloitte Awards for Teaching Innovation in STEM. May this be the first of many to come (stay tuned!).
- Deb DeHaas, chief inclusion officer, Deloitte LLP.
Check out the winners of the 2015 Sally Ride-Deloitte Award for Teaching Innovation in STEM contest!
First Place Winner
Ryan is a technology administrator at RePublic Schools, which is a network of public charter schools working to reimagine public education in the So...
5, 6, 7, 8
Informative websites, Apps, Assessments, Lesson Plans/Activities, Games/Puzzles, Courses/Training
Second Place Winners
The Junior Engineers-in-Training (JEiTs) program (begun in 2006) is an all-female engineering club for students in upper elementary grades at Hunter...
Teacher Resource, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Photos, Images, and Diagrams, Lesson Plans/Activities, Courses/Training
Third Place Winners
The main idea of this project is to challenge students to research, design, and pitch for implementation, a solution to real-life agricultural dilem...
This stock market project is a project developed for my advanced 7th grade math students. The purpose of the project is to expose students to the ...
Informative websites, Videos, Animations & Simulations, Lesson Plans/Activities, Career Info
This robotics program is being developed for middle school students. They are learning basic computer coding and robot construction around the Ardu...
6, 7, 8
We are hosting a weekly STEM challenge for students in 2nd - 5th grade by posting 1 math and 1 science question, prompt, or activity per grade level...
2, 3, 4, 5
Informative websites, Videos, Photos, Images, and Diagrams, Career Info
Students are encouraged to design, build, test and redesign a simple rubberband car to maximize engineering experiences. They are challenged to imp...
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Informative websites, Lesson Plans/Activities
The judges of the 2014-15 contest comprised a panel of experts in STEM subjects, careers and classroom instruction. We thank them for their valuable input! Read about our judges below.
Radio and Television Journalist and Author
Science radio veteran and award-winning TV journalist Ira Flatow is the host of the Science Friday radio show, a weekly radio call-in program on PRI that engages listeners and scientists in lively conversations about science.
Ira has discussed cutting-edge science stories on a range of programs, including the four-part PBS series Big Ideas. For six years Flatow was host and writer for the Emmy award-winning Newton's Apple on PBS, and he has been a science reporter for CBS, Westinghouse, and CNBC. In his 35-year career, Ira has talked science on the Today Show, Charlie Rose and Oprah. He's also the author of numerous books, most recently, Present at the Future.
His recent honors include the National Science Board Public Service Award (2005), AAAS Journalism Award (2000), the Carl Sagan Award (1999), and the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest (2010). More recently, Ira was named as the winner of the 2012 Isaac Asimov Science Award and has also received an honorary doctorate from Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College.
Executive Director of Science Programs at The National Math and Science Initiative
René was recruited to join The National Math and Science Initiative, NMSI, as the Director of Standards and Quality in 2007, its inaugural year. She established their academic standards, developed curriculum for Advanced Placement courses in each area of science and developed teacher training for teachers of Advanced Placement courses. Currently she is the Executive Director of Science Programs for NMSI which has more than doubled the number of students taking rigorous, college-level classes in math, science and English at participating schools - and the impact is even greater among African American and Hispanic students.
René has taught AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics. She pioneered the AP Chemistry Program at Southlake Carroll High School in Southlake, TX. She was a member of the AP Chemistry Test Development Committee from 1999-2001-the committee which writes the AP Chemistry Exam. Her syllabus is currently published in the AP Teacher's Guide and she authored the chapter on using technology in the AP Chemistry classroom.
In 2001, at Southlake Carroll High School, she had some of the best AP Science results in the country as 75 AP exams were passed in Biology, Chemistry and Physics of which 34 were fives. In 2000, she was awarded the prestigious Siemen's award for outstanding AP science teaching, the Advanced Placement Special Recognition Award by the Southwest Region of the College Board, and the Radio Shack National Teachers award for use of Technology in the Science Classroom. She has coordinated several College Board AP Summer Institutes and conducted numerous 2-day workshops in the Southwest Region. She has conducted workshops for T-cubed at several districts around the state and technology training for College Board consultants.
Additionally, René serves on the Science Academic Advisory Council for the University of Texas at Arlington and teaches a Physics Science Education course there.
Science Educator and Academy Faculty
Petula attended the University of South Carolina where she received a degree in Engineering with an emphasis on Chemical Engineering and worked for DuPont for 13 years. During a downward trend in the Nylon Industry she decided to follow her life long dream of being an Educator. She was a Middle School Science teacher for 10 years for Beaumont ISD where she presented workshops on Genetics, Science Song Writing and Topography at local and regional CAST (Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching) conferences and district staff development. Then and now she integrates her love of singing and writing by authoring parodies of popular hits to teach students difficult concepts in Science. She received the Wayne A. Reaud Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010. She used the award to pursue her Master's Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She has since been promoted to Title I Curriculum Coordinator for her Middle School. She also recently became a licensed Zumba instructor and helps to inspire staff, family, and friends to be active and healthy. Her lifelong goal is to teach teachers how to motivate, elevate, and educate urban students of all ethnicities, with a special emphasis on STEM careers. Her family includes her husband and four children all ages. Their favorite activity is Friday family night, which includes everything from games at home to trips to the movies.
Sheryl Sotelo has been teaching for 31 years, 7 tears in Arizona and 24 years in Alaska. She most recently taught all subjects at the sixth grade at McNeil Canyon Elementary School in Homer, Alaska for the past eight years. She has taught intermediate elementary grades, middle school and elementary special services, and the intermediate level in a Montessori School. She has taught in rural Alaska villages including Gambell on St. Lawrence Island and Unalakeet in the Bering Strait School District. Sheryl and her husband, Ed taught at a two-teacher school, levels K-8 in Cooper Landing, Alaska. She utilizes a science thematic approach and project based learning in her teaching.
Sheryl Sotelo holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a content emphasis in Science from Northern Arizona. She holds a dual teaching degree in elementary education and special education in the areas of learning disabilities and emotionally handicapped. She is certified at the intermediate level from North American Montessori Center. Her post-graduate work includes a Masters of Teaching degree from Grand Canyon University and an administrative credential from University of Alaska Anchorage.
Sheryl Sotelo served at the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources (HER), Human Resources Development Division (HRD) under the guidance of Marilyn Suiter, during 2013-2014.
Sheryl Sotelo is married to Ed Sotelo who is also an educator. They live in Homer, Alaska. They have a grown daughter - Jess Sotelo, son-in-law Ron Kim, and grandson Gus. Sheryl loves spending time with her family in Alaska and Arizona and her friends. She also enjoys learning, being outdoors, kayaking, reading, hiking, walking, gardening, and traveling.
"I believe that teaching must provide opportunities for active engagement with purpose, critical thinking, and innovation. Education must connect students with the natural world around them and build a literacy that empowers them to be responsible global citizens." This can be accomplished with powerful partnerships between students, schools, communities, agencies, experts and scientists. Teachers must seek out resources and professional development and extend the learning for themselves and their students beyond the classroom walls.
Awards, recognitions, publications, and projects:
NEW Educator Facilitator, NASA Ames, Summer 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004.
Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2001;
National Science Teacher's Association Shell Oil Science Teacher Award in 2004
Presentation at International Polar Year Conference in Oslo, Norway. "Seasons and Biomes, An Alaska - Tasmanian Partnership. June 2010.
Selected for Educator's Conference, International Polar Year, Montreal, April 2012
Joint Science Education Project, Greenland June, July 2013
Albert Einstein Fellowship 2013-2014.
Through grant funding from Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, Toyota TAPESTRY grants, Homer Foundation, NASA, Toshiba, Globe Seasons and Biomes, students, and volunteer helpers, the following projects have been possible:
Citizen science monitoring programs for environmental conditions, creek water quality and invasive species surveying, robotics programs, Interpretive Archaeological Trail and Student Digs, Student written and published trail guide to Kenai Peninsula Plants, Animal Signatures - a trail guide to animal tracks and scat, Outdoor education programs, Cooper Landing Museum Brown Bear Articulated Skeleton in a permanent display, Bear in a Box: a traveling brown bear skeleton that can be assembled and taken apart for reassembly.