The New Jersey School Boards Association’s STEAM Tank program, led by Jennifer Siehl, has been nominated to receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineer Mentoring, which recognizes individuals and organizational programs who make significant contributions to mentoring and support the future of STEM and STEAM education.

The National Science Foundation administers the program on behalf of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.  If chosen as a winner, the STEAM Tank program would be recognized at a Washington, D.C. awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 award and commemorative presidential certificate.

“The STEAM Tank program is an all-inclusive community of learners, which is a key vehicle to drive student achievement to our 580 school districts,” said Siehl, manager of the STEAM Tank program. “Board members and other key staff can play a role regarding the integrative approach/process to STEAM Education. They can support teachers and make informed decisions regarding I-STEAM in their district, therefore affecting the outcomes of student achievement through policy, strategic planning, and board goals.”

She added, “STEAM Tank features sustainability and climate education; social and emotional learning; equity, diversity and Inclusion and gives students a true voice. The mentoring our STEAM Tank teams receive from our subject matter experts and judges is crucial to their STEAM Tank journey and beyond. Without our mentors, this program would not be possible. It is truly an honor to be nominated.”

Dr. Timothy Purnell, the executive director and CEO of NJSBA, extended his congratulations to Siehl and all those dedicated to the success of the STEAM Tank program. Reflecting on his recent experience at Workshop in Atlantic City, he observed the profound impact of STEAM Tank on students’ lives. He also expressed admiration for the students’ impressive creativity and their enthusiasm for addressing real-world challenges through their STEAM Tank projects. Recognizing the substantial efforts invested by Siehl, the NJSBA team, as well as the STEAM Tank mentors and judges, he expressed satisfaction that their hard work is being acknowledged and valued.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring was established by the White House in 1995. The purpose of the award is to recognize U.S. citizens or permanent residents and U.S. organizations that have demonstrated excellence in mentoring individuals from groups that are underrepresented in STEM education and workforce.

In addition to being invited to an awards ceremony, winners are invited to participate in meetings with STEM education, research and policy leaders.

Siehl and the STEAM Tank Program were nominated by Dr. Lillian Lebowsky, MIT Lemelson InvenTeam, and head of the Ridgewood High School Applied Engineering Team.

Learn more about the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

There is still time to apply to participate in the 2024 STEAM Tank Challenge. The submission deadline is Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.