Jacobs Engineering has presented Chelle Daniels, a sixth-grade teacher at West Middle School, with a Jacobs Community Care Award for her efforts in promoting STEM education, company officials announced.
On Friday afternoon, Ward Johnson, senior vice president, and Dan Pierre, vice president, presented Daniels with the honorary award. Dan Lawson, director of schools, and Mickey Shuran, West Middle School principal, also participated in the ceremony.
Daniels was selected by Jacobs for giving of her time and talent, and for sharing her passion in all things related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), according to Pierre.
“Ms. Daniels has a strong desire to encourage girls to enter the STEM field, and for this reason she launched her Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) Club,” Pierre said in a press release.
According to Shuran, the school’s efforts began as a vision a few years ago with Daniels’ ideas relating to the start-up of a STEM program.
Subsequently, Shuran coordinated with Lawson, who asked Daniels and Shuran to present their STEM initiative to the Tullahoma Education Foundation. The foundation awarded West Middle School with a grant of $75,000 to develop a STEM lab and provide STEM programming at the school.
With the successful accomplishment of these objectives, Daniels hopes to focus on future goals for the STEM program that include:
Further development of the STEM curriculum using STEM kits that can be accessed by every classroom at West Middle;
Providing more campus enrichment opportunities like the Tennessee Tech Mobile and the DNA Helix Walking Trail with genome stations, as well as off-campus learning experiences such as visits to the Hudson Alpha Bio Technology Institute; and
Funding STEM education scholarships for upcoming high school freshmen who have been recognized as superior STEM student performers throughout middle school and who desire to further their STEM education endeavors.
During Friday’s award presentation, Johnson presented a check for $2,000 to the school’s STEM fund in honor of Daniels’ hard work and efforts.
Pierre called Daniels the “spark plug with a passion about education and the STEM topic specifically.”
Her goal, Pierre said, “is to expose kids to anything STEM-related with the hopes that it will stick in the future and maybe encourage the students to explore careers in STEM-related fields.
“The after-school STEM GEMS programs started by Ms. Daniels, have been extremely instrumental in attracting middle school students to all things STEM-related. It is programs led by such inspirational teachers that lay the foundation for the advancement of STEM education, and the growth and appreciation of STEM activities that can impact the future of our national security and economic development.”
The Jacobs Community Care Award program honors people in the communities served by Jacobs who have been nominated for their support of the Jacobs BeyondZero Culture of Caring and any of the six related emphasis areas of which STEM is one.
Johnson expressed his appreciation for Daniels and her support of STEM initiatives that, he said, “encourage growth, exploration and learning in the young people of our community.”