*Special Edition*

Best of STEM in North Carolina for 2019

Please enjoy our compilation of some of the best stories in STEM education this year.


SMT Awards honor state's best and brightest in STEM

Each year, the SMT Center offers awards that recognize individuals and organizations whose extraordinary contributions to science, mathematics, and technology education in North Carolina. Nominations are accepted each fall and recipients of the awards are honored in the spring at the Celebration of Science, Mathematics, and Technology. This year marked the 12th annual celebration. In addition to recognizing winning students and teachers across the state, the SMT Center also highlighted awardees through video presentations. View 2019 and past winners below and nominate a STEM role model for 2020. Check out the #whystem video here and use the button to learn more about the awards.


North Carolina students find science success in Beijing

The North Carolina International Science Challenge (NCISC) is a yearly North Carolina science competition hosted by the SMT Center for high school students. This year four selected students - Emile Charles, Geoffrey Fylak, Jenny Huang, Emily Wang - were invited to China to present their original STEM research and Maker projects at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition in March. You can read all about their adventures in their own words. And, if you're interested in applying for next year's trip, get more information below.


First woman wins Abel Prize for mathematics

Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck received the 2019 Abel Prize this year for her extraordinary contributions to the field of mathematics. She is the first woman to be awarded this top honor in mathematics.


Kenan Fellows names 2019-2020 teacher leaders

Twenty-seven new Kenan Fellows were announced this year on National Teacher Day. The educators represent 16 school districts across the state and teach a wide range of grade levels from elementary to high school. The 2019-20 Kenan Fellows will spend three weeks interning with local experts in agriculture, scientific research, energy, high-tech manufacturing, and other STEM fields. As part of the award, each receive a $5,000 stipend and participate in 80 hours of professional development that focuses on project-based instruction, digital learning, elevating teacher voice, strengthening ties between the school and the community, and growing professional learning networks. Use the button below to see the list of 2019–20 Kenan Fellows.


North Carolina receives STEMx Challenge Grant

The national STEMx network funded five states this year to expand quality STEM education programs and add to the national conversation on innovative education. The 2019 STEMx Challenge Grants funds projects in Idaho, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. In North Carolina, STEM West (a non-profit based in Catawba County Schools and supported by the North Carolina SMT Center) has plans to rally the seven-county region of rural Western North Carolina around STEM education. A main event will be hosted at Isothermal Community College in Spindale on Jan. 30 (with a snow date of Feb. 12). That full-day event will highlight local STEM programs, identify programming gaps, and select three key future action items. Following the event, sub-meetings will begin to drive completion of these three action items in time to report back to STEMx in June. “The opportunities funded today will position these five networks as leaders in expanding STEM nationally,” said Wes Hall, Interim Senior Vice-President of Education and Philanthropy at Battelle, which manages STEMx. “The expertise they share will strengthen all states.”


North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics heads west

Leaders throughout North Carolina broke ground in June at the site of new campus of the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics in Morganton. The school is scheduled to open in August 2021.


Two NC metros make Forbes STEM Top 10

Jobs in STEM fields are crucial to the stability and continued growth of the U.S. economy. In 2019, Durham-Chapel and Raleigh were noted in the top 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest percentage of STEM jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reporting by Forbes.


NC holds steady on national education assessment

North Carolina’s results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress held steady on exams administered during the 2018-19 school year, with fourth and eighth graders performing at levels similar to 2016-17, when the nationwide assessment of reading and math skills was administered last. Many states reflected a similar trend. North Carolina was among 32 states without statistically significant changes in reading scores – up or down – at the fourth grade and among 19 states without significant change in eighth-grade reading scores. In math, 40 states, including North Carolina, saw no significant change in fourth-grade math performance and 42 states saw neither appreciable gains nor losses in eighth-grade math. Over the last 10 years, North Carolina, the nation as a whole and most states have shown little or no change in NAEP scores – either in math or reading. The NAEP assessment, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and also known as The Nation’s Report Card, measures math and reading performance of a representative sample of students in the fourth and eighth grades every two years. Detailed reports on each assessment, by grade and subject, can be accessed here.


Outstanding STEM teachers get career grants

The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers, or CASMT, was created in 2009 to provide outstanding STEM teachers in North Carolina with professional development, equipment and supplies, and salary support. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund revealed this year's recipients who were awarded $175,000 over five years to their school and professional development opportunities.


Three NC students named presidential scholars

Three public school students from North Carolina were named 2019 Presidential Scholars by the U.S. Department of Education this year. In total, the USDoE recognized 161 high school seniors from across the country for their accomplishments in academics.


North Carolina adopts ISTE Standards

The North Carolina’s State Board of Education adopted the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Standards for Students in 2019. With this decision, North Carolina became the 15th state to use the newest set of student standards as a guiding framework to support educators and leaders in transforming education.


Most schools meet or exceed growth goals in North Carolina

The performance of North Carolina public schools ticked up last year on the state’s annual School Performance Grade accountability measurement, with more schools meeting or exceeding expectations for student gains and more schools earning grades of As and Bs.


Your online stop for STEM programs and opportunities

The NC STEM Center's goal is to be the first stop for parents and educators to gain information about STEM programming across the state. Our online portal helps introduce parents and educators to STEM organizations in North Carolina. We also post and share various career opportunities on our Job Seekers page - free site registration is required to access.

Thanks for your continued support of the NC STEM Center and Happy Holidays!


Thank you for a great year. We're excited for what's to come in 2020!

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