Apr 27

SMT Center Announces 2017 Award Recipients

SMT AwardsRESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMT) Center is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the annual SMT Awards. They will be honored at the SMT Celebration event on April 29 in Raleigh, N.C.

The 2017 SMT Award recipients are:

Business & Industry Award | FRC East

  • For developing regional collaborative programs in STEM education to support project-based learning with a focus on aerospace engineering in eastern N.C.
  • For sponsoring a mobile fabrications laboratory for students and educators use

Champion Award | Al Childers

  • For promoting active engagement by young people in STEM activities; provides new and enhanced opportunities for young people to experience STEM activities
  • For helping to spark the interest of young people in STEM activities; Builds upon STEM experiences of young people in formal education settings.

Outstanding K-8 Educator | Sherry Coren, Hendersonville Elementary

  • For being a leader in STEM lessons and project based learning
  • For delivering standards by making real world connections

Outstanding 9-16 Educator | Erin Lawrence, Apex Friendship High School

  • For creating an authentic learning environment in her classroom
  • For fostering collaborative team projects across disciplines in STEM education

Outstanding Administrator | Tisha Greene, Oakhurst STEAM Academy

  • For integrating STEAM concepts (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and initiatives into the students’ entire school day and extracurricular activities
  • For aligning professional development opportunities for teachers

Outstanding Informal Educator | Jonathan Frederick, North Carolina Science Festival

  • For his work with the North Carolina Science Festival, the first statewide festival of its kind in the nation
  • For highlighting the educational, cultural, and financial impact of science in our state through the Fesitval
  • For providing hands on activities, lab tours, nature experiences, exhibits, and performances to a wide range of the public

Partnership Award | ROCAME

  • For being instrumental in the diversification of the STEM pipeline by encouraging minority students to explore STEM fields
  • Providing students in southeastern North Carolina the opportunity to engage in STEM competitions, receive mentorship from minority engineers, and earn scholarships for higher education.

Student Leadership Award | Shiaoching Tse, The Food Ark

  • For creating a club as a freshman at Enloe High School called The Food Ark (TFA) as a response to the food insecurity she saw at her school
  • Evolving TFA into a 501c3 nonprofit that fights food insecurity by chartering clubs at schools, and by working with the community on partnerships and projects. Today, TFA involves more than 400 active student members across 6 chartered clubs.

The SMT Celebration is a yearly event that began in 2006 to celebrate the success of what is now known as STEM education across the state of North Carolina. The SMT Celebration recognizes participation in various STEM fairs and competitions from the past year.

“North Carolina has a rich tapestry of STEM education throughout the state,” said Dr. Sam Houston, president and CEO of the SMT Center. “We want to shine a spotlight on those who make this state a role model in STEM education for the country”

The SMT Center was founding in 2002 by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support North Carolina effort in what is now known as STEM or STEAM education. To clarify the acronym issue, the SMT Center refers to STEM as Strategies that Engage Minds™, as a method of engaging students in 21st Century learning skills.


Contact – Lisa Rhoades at for more information.

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