The Idaho STEM Action Center is honoring two outstanding teachers who champion science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in Idaho by connecting students with industry leaders who mentor projects and provide invaluable career guidance. Marsing teacher John Barenberg and Plummer teacher Laura Wommack were named the 2018 winners of the Industry’s Excellent Educators Dedicated to STEM (INDEEDS) Awards. The INDEEDS Awards recognize teachers who excel at linking students with STEM education advocates and Gem State businesses.
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“Idaho is fortunate to have such talented and passionate teachers as John and Laura,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “They care deeply about their students, find creative ways to engage them in STEM education, and work tirelessly to ensure their classes have the tools and opportunities they need to explore subjects that are essential to building the workforce Idaho needs.”
John, who has taught third grade at Marsing Elementary School in Marsing for 31 years, has been instrumental in building a community of learning that connects classroom activities with out-of-school experiences.
Laura received her teaching certificate in 1993 and incorporates her experience in various fields into her classroom, from her NASA weather balloon and astronomy research to her experience traveling through the Arctic to learn about the region’s ecology.
Angela Hemingway, executive director of the STEM Action Center, said that the commitment of both teachers is unparalleled. “John and Laura make huge impacts on their students—and colleagues—every day,” she said. “They not only push themselves to grow as professionals but help ensure their fellow teachers reach their full potential, too, by working extensively to mentor and train educators throughout Idaho. We are so proud to present them with Idaho’s top award for excellence in STEM education.” Both educators will receive an individual cash prize of $2,000, an additional $2,000 for their schools’ STEM initiatives, and funding to attend a national conference related to STEM provided by the Idaho STEM Action Center.
The Idaho STEM Action Center is dedicated to engineering innovative STEM opportunities for educators, students, communities, and industry to build a competitive Idaho workforce and economy. Learn more and get involved today by visiting stem.idaho.gov.
The INDEEDS Awards are sponsored by a group of industry leaders, including the Micron Foundation, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Power Company, Discovery Center of Idaho, Trailhead, Vynyl, and Blocksmith VR.