CHEYENNE – The 2018-19 Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) Educators of the Year were honored Wednesday at the 2019 Roadmap to STEAM Conference in Laramie.
Each year, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) recognizes exemplary STEAM educators from elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels of education; new this year is the selection of a STEAM Student of the Year.
“These educators have a passion for STEAM that is passed on to their students – and students well-versed in STEAM are essential to the economic well being of our state,” said Dr. Michelle Aldrich, supervisor of the WDE Career Technical Education (CTE) Section. “The Department is privileged to honor these educators and thank them for preparing Wyoming’s children for the future.”
“Innovative and dedicated STEAM educators are critical to our success as a state,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Whether students are bound for college, military, or straight into a career, science and technology will play a larger role in their lives. This year’s recipients are a testament to the field – they are the best of the best.”
The 2018-19 awardees include:
STEAM Elementary Educator of the Year Shelby Randall, Westside Elementary School
Randall has implemented a genius hour each week where first grade students learn computer coding. She begins with using hopscotch tiles to teach movements as code. As a final project students use WeDo2.0 robotics kits to build race cars and rovers. Using computational thinking and the coding tiles on the WeDo app, students tell the robots what to do. Randall said it is an incredible moment to watch the students grow and inquire as they experience this genius hour.
STEAM Secondary Educator of the Year Jesse Smith, Shoshoni School
Smith’s high school STEM program started as a one-year experiment, but due to popular demand, it is now a four-year program. Smith takes students of limited technical abilities and transforms them into innovators, designers, and creators. They receive training in multiple programming languages, 2D and 3D design, laser cutting and engraving, 3D printing and printer maintenance. They also learn to build and refurbish computers, setup physical and virtual servers and protect them from cyber attack. Students learn about new technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital wallets.
STEAM Post-Secondary Educator of the Year Dr. Andrew Young, Casper College
Young has played an active role in mentoring teachers and students across Wyoming. His lecture series that covers physics and astronomy are available in podcast form. Young’s past research interest includes blazars, space weather, aurora borealis, and astrophysical search engines. His current primary academic duties consist of teaching live and on-line astronomy and physics courses at Casper College. He serves as a board member for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant and also is the Wyoming RadNet systems operator for the Environmental Protection Agency.
STEAM Student of the Year Bailey Bowcutt, Cheyenne Central High School
Bowcutt founded the Young Women In STEAM group at Central High. The group met monthly and brought in professional women who have excelled in STEAM fields to talk about how they chose their career path.The group also created STEAM Night at Central High, where high school students gathered to explore STEAM careers and helped encourage grade-school children to investigate science and technology. Bowcutt intends to recreate the Young Women In STEAM group at Michigan State University, where she will be studying microbiology, genomics and molecular biology.
Nominations for Wyoming STEAM educators were submitted and reviewed by a selection committee at the WDE.
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Michelle Panos, Communications Director