Nation’s Most Innovative STEM Solutions Honored in “Partnering for Excellence” Competition

Eight winners have been selected from the Partnering for Excellence: Innovations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education competition, a search for the most innovative ways to inspire STEM-rich learning in our nation’s classrooms (particularly in high-need communities) by connecting students with STEM professionals.

The competition was hosted by Ashoka Changemakers, with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York and The Opportunity Equation. Winners were selected by a combination of open voting on the website, the recommendations of competition partners, and a rigorous assessment by a distinguished panel of judges including Dr. Bruce Alberts, Tim Brown, Michele Cahill, Caroline Kennedy, Dr. Ioannis Miaoulis, and Dr. Robert Moses.

Let’s meet the winners!

Top Prize Winners

The competition Judges’ Awards went to the National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) and Purdue University College of Engineering’s EPICS High, a unanimous selection by the judges from a pool of ten finalists.

NCTAF partners teams of teachers with STEM professionals to develop and implement hands-on projects in classrooms, such as quantifying school energy use or building fuel cells with a NASA engineer. EPICS High challenges students to design and manufacture products that benefit local service agencies, encouraging students to engage in their communities through project-based learning.

Each entry will receive a $30,000 prize, supported by Google, Alcoa Foundation, the AFT Innovation Fund, Carnegie Corporation, and Opportunity Equation, to expand and strengthen their innovative design.

People’s Choice Award

The Changemakers online community voted for Citizen Schools: Connecting STEM Professionals to Classrooms to be the People’s Choice winner out of a pool of ten finalists. Citizen Schools inspires students to pursue STEM careers by giving them the opportunity to work, learn, and explore their worlds with STEM professionals.

Citizen Schools will receive $20,000, sponsored by Carnegie Corporation, Opportunity Equation, and Noyce Foundation.

Special Focus Prizes

Technology Access Foundation received the $10,000 ExxonMobil Foundation Prize for an innovation that focuses on facilitating middle students’ understanding of real-world STEM applications.

High Desert Leapin’ Lizards, Inc. and Tufts University Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program (STOMP) are the two recipients of the Jhumki Basu Prize, a $10,000 award for democratizing science education in the United States.

High Desert is an initiative developed by a partnership of the Cerro Coso Community College and the Department of Navy. It invites STEM experts into schools to teach renewable energy, robotics, rocketry, and other classes. STOMP pairs teachers with undergraduate engineering students to undertake open-ended classroom engineering projects.

National Commission for Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF), a Judges’ Award winner, also received the Amgen Foundation Prize, a $10,000 award given to an innovation that demonstrates an effective partnership model for enhancing STEM learning through inquiry-based methods.

Biotech Partners and the Department of Chemistry at California State University, Bakersfield were both honored with the Innovations in Life Sciences Prize, an award sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Biotech Partners engages STEM professionals in the classroom, and partners with STEM corporations and institutions to sponsor student internships. California State, Bakersfield’s “Chemical Circus!” program engages faculty and students in hands-on interaction with local community youth.