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Jackson science teacher selected as 2023 National STEM Scholar

Photo courtesy of National Stem Cell Foundation

A local science teacher has been named one of 10 individuals selected to participate in the National STEM Scholar Program.

Kandice Taylor, who teaches at Brinkley Middle School in Jackson, was the only educator chosen from Mississippi.

The program, which was created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University (WKU), provides advanced STEM training, national network building, and project support for middle school science teachers nationwide.

Each year, 10 teachers are selected from a national pool of applicants based solely on the description of a “big idea” Challenge Project the applicant would implement in their classroom if funds were available.

Selected projects are chosen for maximum impact in middle school classrooms where research shows lifelong STEM career decisions are being made.

STEM Scholars then convene on WKU’s campus for a week of advanced STEM training and finalize their projects with input from their STEM Scholar class colleagues.

“We added education to our mission and partnered with The Gatton Academy in 2015 to support the development of a new generation of scientists in academic research, advanced technology, and infrastructure engineering,” Dr. Paula Grisanti, CEO of the National Stem Cell Foundation, said. “Supporting teachers who inspire and motivate middle school students at this critical decision-making age will directly impact how many choose to pursue the STEM skills essential for living wage jobs. By investing in the influential middle school STEM teacher now, we reach thousands of students in classrooms today and far into the future.”

At this time, over 80 scholars have been chosen from 33 states across the nation, leading the program to have directly and indirectly impacted over 104,000 middle school students by June 2023.

The additional National STEM Scholars include:

  • Laura Cummings, Haleiwa, HI – Sunset Beach Elementary School
  • James “JJ” Frye, Leitchfield, KY – Grayson County Middle School
  • Emily Harer, St. Paul, MN – Global Arts Plus – Upper Campus
  • Erin Hullinger, Buxton, ME – Bonny Eagle Middle School
  • Patricia “Pati” Huntington, San Diego, CA – Farb Middle School
  • Jennifer “Jenny” McCall, Lexington, KY – Winburn Middle School
  • Michele Mitnitsky, Sanibel, FL – The Sanibel School
  • Teresa Robertson, Munfordville, KY – Munfordville Elementary School
  • Sarah StCyr, Sulphur, LA – W.W. Lewis Middle School

This year’s National STEM Scholar class will be recognized from May 29 to June 2 on WKU’s campus in Bowling Green, KY.

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