The STEMMY Awards were established in 2005 to recognize educational institutions, businesses, organizations and individuals who promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) awareness and improve the STEM competency of students.
Meet The STEMMY Winners!
Education Award: Catholic Memorial High School STEM Challenge
Catholic Memorial High School is being honored for its STEM Challenge that brings together industry professionals, parents, teachers, middle and high school students in the name of STEM. The challenge gives students an opportunity to solve a real world problem, collaborate and create a design.
Engineers and other STEM professionals from area businesses spend the day with students encouraging them, answering questions, and sharing their business knowledge as students are working. These same industry professionals act as judges for the competition.
Since the STEM Challenge started four years ago, Catholic Memorial High School has seen an increase in the number of incoming freshmen taking STEM classes from 28 to 57 percent, and the percentage of students in STEM classes that are female has risen from 18 to 26 percent. A Fox6 news report on Feb. 24, 2017 summarized the STEM Challenge nicely: “It’s more than a STEM project. It’s about creativity and teamwork.”
Partnership Award: Discovery World and Zilber Family Foundation, Johnson Controls and Corporate Partners
Over the past two years, Discovery World has piloted and expanded programming, bringing specific schools and students onsite for several hours of focused programming. The curriculum builds each week and students master skills taught over repeated visits in a 6-8 week period.
In early 2017, with support from Johnson Controls Foundation, Discovery World brought 600 students from eight schools in Milwaukee to Discovery World for repeated programming. All costs for the program were covered by external funding, including transportation. According to an evaluation of the program, “Students grew in their ability to problem solve and overcome obstacles to accomplish tasks, which is a portable skill in the classroom or other areas of their lives… At several grade levels, students exhibited significant changes in perceptions about their ability to perform specific STEM skills.”
Partnership Award: SHARP Literacy, Rockwell Automation, Northwestern Mutual, UWM, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and various schools
SHARP Literacy (SHARP) has been providing programs for disadvantaged, underserved students, most from educationally challenged neighborhoods, since 1996. Initially, students in Milwaukee were served; more recently, SHARP’s programming has expanded to include students in Waukesha County. SHARP’s innovative approaches have helped students learn to read, write, and research using the visual arts to engage their minds.
SHARP developed the Create Art with Code (CAC) program to teach elementary students coding basics – widely considered a foundational literacy skill essential for higher education and modern jobs. The program is funded and supported by Northwestern Mutual.
SHARP’s education team collaborates with I.T. professionals and higher education institutions, including UWM’s Girls Who Code Clubs and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to develop curriculum, deliver program and track results. SHARP Literacy has partnered with the following schools: Forest Home Avenue School, Doerfler Elementary, Escuela Vieau, Rogers Street Academy, Banting Elementary, Summit View, Whittier Elementary and MPS J-Term.
Individual Award: Laura Schmidt
Laura’s passion for STEM related education is evident not only through her past work but also in the number of organizations she supports in her free time. She coordinates the Milwaukee Tech Hub Education Workgroup, is on the steering committee for Wisconsin Affiliate for the National Center for Women in Information Technology, co-leads the talent pipeline committee for Advancing AI Wisconsin, and serves on the advisory board for the national AI4K12 initiative led by Carnegie Mellon University. She has also been an active member of the STEM Forward conference planning committee and has been instrumental in expanding the scope of conference sessions and attendance over the past 5 years.
Laura previously served as the Executive Director for a local non-profit. Prior to that, she spent 15 years with Northwestern Mutual where she managed large technology projects and research for Northwestern Mutual’s Field Technology department.
Congratulations to The 2018 STEMMY winners!