Southern Utah STEM Awards Recognize Outstanding Educators

Published: April 21, 2023 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 10 minutes

Southern Utah STEM Awards - Vice Principal Richard Thatcher, Award Winner KC Fotheringham, Principal Bylynda MurrayOn Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the Southern Utah STEM Awards acknowledged and honored Southern Utah educators and businesses who make STEM a priority in schools and the community.

The STEM Awards is a groundbreaking collaboration between Southern Utah University, Utah Tech University, Southwest Technical College and Dixie Technical College. Several Southern Utah counties take part in the STEM Awards including Beaver, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Washington, and Wayne.

Local businesses such as Slurps Up and ALIGN Precision helped to sponsor this year's awards. The Utah STEM Action Center donated funding to the event and helped to honor the STEM Action Center’s STEM Outreach Business of the Year.

“We are so grateful to the incredible and inspiring people who played a role in making these awards happen,” said Dylan Kirklin, director of the SUU STEM Center for Teaching and Learning. “The teachers, professors, instructors and business who won these awards were thrilled to receive them and we were happy to create an event to honor their contributions to STEM learning and outreach.”

Awards were given to educators for their exemplary work in cultivating a curriculum that encourages curiosity. Southern Utah residents nominated their favorite STEM educators who have made a difference in student lives, as well as businesses in southern Utah that have had a positive impact on STEM education.

2023 Southern Utah STEM Award Winners

Science Educator of the Year, K-6 Education

Jamie Andrew - Crimson View Elementary School, Washington County School District

Even as a veteran teacher, as Jamie moved grades and schools she felt intimidated. She has continued to excel and grow at Crimson View has shown and effectively incorporates STEM lessons that engage students and enhance their thinking. She attributes her successful learning to classroom management, which allows her to trust her students to take on STEM. In her small community, as she sees former students and asks them what their favorite things were, it is almost always her science lessons. Parents often tell her that their child came home wanting to try something that they had discussed in class. These are the moments that tell her that students are learning and enjoying their learning.

Science Educator of the Year, 7-12 Education

Travis Wood - Cedar High School, Iron County School District

Travis has the ability to increase and strengthen critical thinking skills of his students. His students have shown a greater capacity to think outside of the box, analyze and interpret data, and design solutions to problems that either indirectly or directly relate to the real World. They have also gained a greater confidence in their capabilities and ability to use their gifts and talents to magnify their success in the classroom. Travis has been able to successfully collaborate with teachers as new standards have been unfolded in the recent years. He has been able to create an integrated approach and problem based learning that has better prepared students for the challenges they will face in the future and fostered growth in personal confidence and the collaborative process to help them tackle any obstacle that comes their way.

Technology Educators of the Year, K-6 Education

Jenny Jones and Stephanie Smith - Iron Springs Elementary School, Iron County School District

Stephanie and Jenny have the incredible ability to inspire student growth in science and technology. Technology has allowed them to create dynamic and innovative lesson plans that blend numerous types of activities and assignments that are specifically focused on allowing kids to increase their learnings – it also allows students to learn how to be efficient with technology and compete in our technology driven world. They have also helped students develop skills that allow them to discover and investigate the phenomena that surround them which has instilled in them a love of life and learning. They are grateful to the Utah School Board, the Iron County School District, the SUU STEM Center and Principal Nathan Jenkins, for having the foresight to make technology available for use with their students.

Technology Educator of the Year, 7-12 Education

Kimberly McCollum - SUU SUCCESS Academy, Iron County School District

Kimberly has worked hard to incorporate technology into both her biology and her computer science classes. In her biology classes, they have used biotechnology such as polymerase chain reactions, gel electrophoresis, and CRISPR. In computer science, students have set up operating systems on raspberry pi computers, programmed lights using Arduino, and used virtual machines on a cyber range. She is proud to serve as a model of lifelong learning and show the students what it looks like not to be afraid to try something new.

Engineering Educator of the Year, K-6 Education

Karen Webb - Hurricane Elementary School, Washington County School District

Karen is most proud of working toward her math endorsement and teaching engineering concepts to her students. Each year, she becomes more proficient at guiding them toward an understanding of how math and engineering really makes their lives better. This year on March 30th they had our 4th annual cardboard carnival/engineering fair. Karen loves seeing the future unfold right before her eyes with the amazing creativity and use of real world skills to produce amazing things. Math and engineering are critical 21st century skills that students need to have to become productive members of society. She loves seeing the world open to their new and innovative designs that will really change our scope of the world and beyond!

Engineering Educators of the Year, 7-12 Education

Andrew Egbert and Jordan Bartholomew - Vista Charter School, Washington County

In the last few years, Andrew and Jordan have been able to build a competitive robotics program that has shown that younger students can do amazing things. They built a successful middle school program in the midst of competitive high school programs around Utah. They started the VEX robotics program as a class with 3 teams. Fast forward to this year, the program has grown to 13 teams composed from a school class and an after school program that includes over 50 middle and high school students from several schools in their area. Many of their current and former students have found a love for engineering and plan to pursue engineering or related degrees and occupations. They are proud of their students and what they have been able to accomplish.

Mathematics Educator of the Year, K-6 Education

Miranda Schear - LaVerkin Elementary, Washington County School District

Miranda not only struggled in math as a student- she actually really hated math! When she became a teacher, she worried that her feelings toward math would affect her students. She knew that she needed to pretend that she loved math as much as she loved reading and science so that her students would not know her true feelings. As a lover of all things STEM, she wanted to make math just as enjoyable for her students as the other 3 components of STEM. She found that, as she searched for ways to make math fun, she truly started to enjoy math. She loves being able to incorporate movement, music, technology and even art into math lessons to keep students engaged. She doesn't ever want her students to have the same feelings that she did as a math student!

Mathematics Educator of the Year, 7-12 Education

KC Fotheringham - Cedar Middle School, Iron County School District

KC feels honored to be a teacher to her students and is incredibly proud of them and their growth. KC loves seeing students come into her class who have always thought they couldn't do math, weren’t smart enough, or just hated it; change their perspective and leave her class with confidence, appreciation and sometimes even passion for the subject. She feels the love of teaching when parents reach out and say that they heard all about what they did in class that day. Knowing that students care enough to go home and talk about her class is incredibly rewarding. The greatest accomplishment is seeing students carry their newfound confidence and joy in math on with them into the years that follow and watch them continue to learn and build upon it.

STEM Outreach Award - Southern Utah University

Dr. Helen Boswell-Taylor

Dr. Boswell-Taylor began volunteering with K-12 students in the ICSD as a parent of elementary school-aged kids. From chromatography with coffee filters to skyrocketing elephant toothpaste, she loved seeing kids become excited, joyful, and empowered with science. Since then, she has been grateful to have joined Dr. Bill Heyborne in co-advising SUU Animal Ambassadors, an outreach club that he’s been building for over a decade. Dr. Boswell-Taylor says, “There’s really nothing like having a K-12 student sit down with you, being brave and knowledgeable about an animal, and tell you all the things they learned since the last time they saw you. I’m also especially proud of our SUU students, who demonstrate so much growth and develop their own outreach skills at all of these events.”

STEM Outreach Award - Utah Tech University

Curtis Larsen

Curtis Larsen's incredible journey into STEM outreach began with coaching a FIRST Lego League robotics team. He also began meeting with his son Caleb and his friends once a week to teach them computer programming. Before he knew it, a whole classroom of kids was showing up most weeks, and Curtis couldn't have been happier! With the help of Paul Hill, they turned the after-school programming meetings into a 4 H robotics club. Curtis also served on the planning committee for the Southern Utah Code Camp. These amazing collaborations have led to the establishment of a STEM outreach program at Utah Tech, offering a collection of programs and events for youths. Curtis is grateful for the opportunity to have been involved in these experiences and to have spent so much time with these youths, especially his own children.

STEM Outreach Award - Southwest Technical College

Jim Riley

Jim Riley has been at Southwest Technical College for over 18 years. As a retired U.S. Navy Seebee, Power Plant Technician/ Instructor, and Power Program Manager for over 25 years, Jim has a passion for teaching and mentoring. He has been essential to moving the Welding program forward at Southwest Tech. Jim has participated in dozens of STEM Nights, wowing the attendees with our Virtual Welding system. Southwest Tech is proud to award Jim the STEM Award for his tireless dedication to educating the community.

STEM Outreach Award - Dixie Technical College

Brad Campbell

Brad Campbell graduated from Brigham Young University in 1984 with a computer science degree. He has worked for and started several small companies, including Strata, Sapphire, Cabosoft, BusyBusy and more. Brad joined the Dixie Technical College Faculty in 2019 and has enjoyed building the App Development Program. "I enjoy seeing students come into the class knowing little or nothing about programming, then watch how quickly they are able to start writing code and understanding the concepts. These kids have unlimited potential to change the world, and it's fun to watch them take their first steps in that direction.

Utah STEM Action Center’s STEM Outreach Business of the Year


Zonos has been a champion of STEM education in Southern Utah for over 10 years through both financial contributions and personnel support. They are always willing to sponsor a field trip, provide career presentations, and support new student experiences through donations of funding, equipment, swag and volunteer time. With their support, programs like First Lego League and Code Camp have been established and have impacted thousands of Southern Utah youth. Not only do they contribute to the programs, they also bring other businesses to the discussion table and are leading the charge in creating pathways for students to achieve STEM careers.


The annual Southern Utah STEM Awards take place each spring. Nominations open again in January 2024 for anyone to share how their favorite STEM educators and businesses have made a difference in student lives through STEM principles and teaching. Learn more about the Southern Utah STEM Awards.

Tags: Utah STEM Center STEM

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