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Indiana Promotes STEM with Certifications, Scholarships

Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Education are promoting STEM by awarding letterman jackets and $1,000 scholarships to distinguished students, and spotlighting schools for STEM leadership.

Gov. Eric Holcomb
Gov. Eric Holcomb
(TNS) — Computer and math-related careers in Indiana will grow to nearly 70,000 — a jump of 7,000 jobs — by 2028, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development — one reason the state is prioritizing STEM (or science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Education recently announced the four newest members of the Governor's 2023 STEM Team, all high-school students who have demonstrated their STEM talents.

"I continue to be impressed by the students selected for my STEM team, not only for their commitment to academic success but also their eagerness to make a positive impact on fellow Hoosiers, communities, and our state," said Holcomb.

"As opportunities for STEM education continue to grow, I want to commend our students for seizing these opportunities to improve their future, as well as our passionate educators for their work to prepare students for all that lies ahead."

Members of the Governor's STEM Team receive a letterman jacket as well as a $1,000 scholarship that is deposited into an Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings plan, administered by the Treasurer of State.

"As we continue to expand access to high-quality STEM education, these students exemplify the potential that exists for all Indiana students to unlock skills that will serve them throughout their life path," said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education.

"The skills they are learning today — from problem-solving to critical thinking to communication — will be important regardless of the career they choose and will prepare them to be innovators and leaders who will help drive our state's future economy."

The 2023 Governor's STEM Team members are:

  • Science: Ethan Kiang, Bloomington High School South, Bloomington. Kiang has worked on research relating to climate and temperate forests at Indiana University's Novick Lab. Kiang's project compares the effects of soil moisture and atmospheric drought stressors on temperate forest trees.
  • Technology: Brinna Porat, Center Grove High School, Greenwood. Porat's passion for robotics started young, and she has held leadership positions in FIRST Robotics and volunteers at several local, state and national robotics competitions.
  • Engineering: Katie Essex, Southport High School, Indianapolis. Essex has an interest in aviation and recently completed a physics internship through IUPUI. She also created Mini-Movers, a program that provides modified ride-on cars to young children with disabilities.
  • Mathematics: Katherine Yu, Carmel High School, Carmel. Yu volunteers at an assisted living facility close to her home, which is what helped her realize the lack of independence caused by chronic illnesses. Her research into glaucoma and Alzheimer's disease created a passion for improving health.
The Indiana Department of Education also announced this month that 19 schools are newly certified as leaders in STEM education. This year's cohort includes the largest number of secondary schools to engage in the certification process to date.

"The schools we spotlight ... have demonstrated a commitment to providing high-quality, engaging STEM experiences that not only support students in developing problem-solving skills, but also prepare them for careers in emerging industries," Jenner said. "As careers in STEM fields continue to drive our state's economy, our role is to ensure every Hoosier student has access to high-quality STEM curriculum needed to meet both current and future demands."

Created in 2015, the STEM certification program recognizes schools committed to teaching STEM disciplines beyond the classroom. For secondary schools in particular, earning STEM certification requires heightened intention and coordination in terms of vision, scheduling and interdisciplinary collaboration. More than 100 schools statewide hold STEM Certification.

This year's schools that have newly earned STEM certification are:

  • Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center, MSD of Wayne Township
  • Beveridge Elementary School, Gary Community School Corporation
  • Canaan Community Academy
  • Eastern High School, East Washington School Corporation
  • Edgewood Middle School, Warsaw Community Schools
  • Glen Park Academy, Gary Community School Corporation
  • Graham Creek Elementary, Jennings County School Corporation
  • Jasper High School, Greater Jasper Consolidated School Corporation
  • Loogootee Middle School, Loogootee Community School Corporation
  • Memorial Park Middle School, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Mount Vernon High School, MSD of Mount Vernon
  • Mount Vernon Junior High School, MSD of Mount Vernon
  • South Ripley Junior High School, South Ripley Community Schools
  • Union City Junior/Senior High School, Randolph Eastern Community School Corporation
  • Washington High School, Washington Community Schools
  • Weisser Park Elementary, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Wes-Del Elementary School, Wes-Del Community School Corporation
  • Wes-Del Middle/High School, Wes-Del Community School Corporation

This year's schools that have renewed STEM certification for an additional five years are:

  • Barker Middle School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Helfrich Park STEM Academy, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
  • Kennedy Academy, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Maconaquah Elementary School, Maconaquah School Corporation
  • The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Monroe County Community School Corporation

Each of these schools completed a rigorous application and review process, which must be repeated every five years to remain certified.

A new designation was been added this year to highlight schools that demonstrated significant progress in creating an engaging STEM culture and empowering students to create and innovate through integrated STEM learning experiences. Schools designated as Developing in STEM Certification are:

  • Cherry Tree Elementary School, Carmel Clay Schools
  • Hammond Central High School, School City of Hammond
  • Kingsford Heights Elementary School, LaPorte Community School Corporation
  • Lynhurst Seventh and Eighth Grade Center, MSD of Wayne Township
  • Milan High School, Milan Community Schools
  • Morton Senior High School, School City of Hammond
  • North Decatur Junior/Senior High School, Decatur County Community Schools
  • Our Lady of Grace Catholic School
Each of these schools are continuing to establish infrastructure for sustainable, high-quality STEM education and will receive intentional, strategic support from IDOE as they progress toward STEM Certification.

©2023 the Greensburg Daily News (Greensburg, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.