Staff and students from Foothills Middle School took top honors at today’s GWATA Innovators Awards Luncheon. Para-educator and Vex IQ Robotics coach Brigitte Wiegand was named STEM Educator of the Year, and Vex Robotics Team FBI (Annaliese Gordon, Asanatou Ceesay, Lucia Musachhi, Miranda Nayak, and Taylor Reyes) was named Future Technology Leader.
“It was a ‘wow’ moment for me,” said Team FBI member, Lucia Musachhi after being presented with the Future Technology Leader of the Year Award. “We’re excited to take our robotics to the next level. This year each of us is leading a team at Foothills,” said Miranda Nayak.
The team was recognized for their efforts during the 2017-2018 season. The five girls, researched and the ethical dilemmas associated with the development of a robotic heart pump being developed by Harvard and the Boston Medical Center. Their work qualified them for Washington State’s VEX Championship where they were honored with the Excellence Award and qualified for the VEX World Championship where they would compete against 400 teams from 32 counties. At the most elite level, Team FBI took home the STEM Presentation Award.
Other Wenatchee School District Future Technology finalists included Wenatchee High School senior Brayden Brown and sophomore Natalie Valdez.
The STEM Educator of the Year award is presented to an educator who is pursuing innovative approaches to learning through STEM and demonstrates the passion for STEM education through their advocacy. “It’s pretty surreal to receive this award,” Wiegand said of the honor. “The kids are my biggest supporter —That’s what keeps me going.”
Brigitte was honored for her work to develop the Foothills VEX Robotics program. Her efforts to encourage and engage female and underrepresented students through robotics earned her the Mentor of the Year award at the VEX IQ World Championships.
Finalists for the STEM Educator award from the Wenatchee School District were Wenatchee High School CTE/ Sports Medicine Instructor, Dale Blair, and Wenatchee School District Board Member Sarah Knox who is a STEM Librarian at the North Central Regional Library.
Wenatchee School District educators and students fill the GWATA Innovators Hall of Fame. The 2017 STEM Educator of the Year was Lincoln Elementary fifth-grade teacher Tina Nicpan-Brown, and Future Technology Leder was Wenatchee High School senior Moses Lurbur
GWATA is North Central Washington’s Technology Alliance. Each year they celebrate Innovator Award Winners, which include Entrepreneur of the Year, Tech Savvy Business of the Year, STEM Educator of the Year, Future Tech Leader of the Year and Problem Solving Innovator of the Year. For a complete list of nominees and winner profiled visit http://www.gwata.org/innovators/