For the past eight years STEM City has celebrated some of our brilliant community members through an annual STEM awards ceremony (aka the STEMmy's). In the spring we request nominations for candidates in the areas of community support, student achievement, and exemplary teaching. A panel reviews the submissions to determine the winner of each area and winners receive $500. Last June we awarded some awesome folx for their excellence in STEM. It has been about six months, are you curious as to what they are up to now? Well me too, lets find out:
Student nominee and winner Halie Nelson really blew our panel away with their scientific research on the Colorado River. Their research on the New Zealand mud snail has still not made a huge breakthrough in native fish but Haile does not plan to stop there. Since the awards in June Haile has graduated high school and finished their first semester in college. Thats amazing! Haile is in the Environmental Engineering program at Northern Arizona University, where she hopes to extend her education to graduate school, and eventually do science in the Colorado River. Additionally, she is planning to minor in Biology (if an engineering course load wasn't enough already) and hopefully take some cool fish classes. For those who forgot, Hailes favorite fish is the Humpback Chub, an endangered fish of the Colorado River threatened by proposed dams.
Hailes scientific work is motivated by her appreciation for living things and says that "conservation has influenced me as a person so much, it really made me look into my actions and how I can better take care of myself and the planet." Great work Haile!
Our community member nominee and winner Jeff Jones, a faculty member at the Coconino Community College, has long been an active member in the STEM Community. What stood out to us is the effort Jeff puts into making STEM accessible to more members of the community. For instance, he helped the 4th Street Community campus secure a grant to make a lab that includes 3-D printers, virtual reality, and raspberry pies (think small computers not desserts).
Currently Jeff is teaching remotely, although like many he misses in person interactions with students. That being said, Jeff is taking this opportunity to explore unique opportunities and innovations made possible in an online classroom. We owe him a big congratulations because he plans on retiring this May! It won't be the end of his STEM involvement, he just can't live without it. He will continue as a STEM board member at Killip Elementary School as they 'innovate and realize their new campus." He also plans to look for part time teaching and volunteer opportunities in the areas of STEM in Flagstaff. Thanks for all you do Jeff!
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