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Markforged Distinguished Teachers in STEM Scholarship

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1 winner$2,199
Application Deadline
Nov 19, 2021
Winners Announced
Dec 18, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Area of expertise:
Teacher in a STEM-related field
Returning to college or has student debt

From robotics to material science, some of the most exciting, world-changing innovation and economic opportunity today is happening at the cutting edge of engineering fields.

An industry leader in robotics and 3D printing technology, Markforged would like to recognize the incredible teachers and professors who inspire young minds to pursue a STEM-related career.

The Markforged Distinguished Teachers in STEM Scholarship exists to support a professor or teacher in STEM who is either going back to college or has student debt.

Teachers in any field of STEM are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please tell us more about how you became a STEM educator and how this award would help you enable the growth and development of budding STEM students.

Selection Criteria:
Ambition, Need, Boldest Profile
Published July 14, 2021
Essay Topic

Please tell us more about how you became a STEM educator and how this award would help you enable the growth and development of budding STEM students.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Abi Meade
Western Governors UniversityPhoenix, AZ
When I was an elementary school student back in the 90’s I was a kooky high energy kid that would never stop talking and at that time it wasn’t cool to be different. Very early on in my education I was diagnosed with ADHD and because there wasn’t much research on how to teach students that learn differently, I was moved into the special education classroom. Needless to say my peers did not respond well to that and I was often bullied for being different. It also didn’t help that I had curly hair, wore glasses, and only dressed in hand-me-downs from my cousins but some things just can’t be helped. In my special education classes lessons were often taught to the lowest leveled learner in the room so that the least accommodations had to be made and there was very little patience when it came to hyperactivity (I’ve found great joy in all of the new fidgets that are available to kids now). I quickly became bored in this environment and by the time I was in middle school my grades were terrible and I was beginning to get myself into trouble. I was friends with troubled students who often got in trouble with the law. Much to my mother’s horror I began to skip classes. My relationship with my family was suffering and I was miserable going to school each day. I continued down this path until 8th grade when I finally decided to try to be a better person and to do well in school and it was all thanks to a single math teacher. This math teacher was more than just a mentor, she was a friend. She saw herself in me and knew that I was a smart kid that was simply misunderstood. She kept me after school twice a week to catch me up on all of the math I had missed as an elementary school student. She was shocked to find that even though I had a solid base of number theory, none of my teachers had taken the time to teach me how to multiply 2 digit numbers (a 2nd grade requirement in my state). She taught me loads about math but the most important thing she taught me was to stand up for myself. She knew that by showing me compassion and understanding that I would learn to have compassion and understanding for myself. I have come a long way since then but I have always tried to see the best in people and to try not to judge people or their situations. Because of this experience I have dedicated myself to becoming a Secondary Mathematics teacher specializing in middle school special education. Whenever I tell people this they tell me what a “patient saint” I must be but I tell them that I just treat my students the way that I wished to be treated when I was their age. This scholarship would be the next needed step in my journey to become the best educator I can be. I have been working in educational settings for the past 10 years and I am finally at a place in my life where I am ready to focus on school again. This scholarship could be the difference between calm focus on my classes and frantic studying late at night while worrying about work. I'm extremely excited to be able to focus on myself in this coming school year and I hope I can do it with the financial support I desperately need.
Elizabeth Bass
Western Governors UniversityAuburn, AL
I am a grades 3-5 Venture/Enrichment teacher. My amazing school feels that all students are gifted in some way, so all 500 of them get to come to my class. And let me tell you, we have the best time learning from each other. Each year, I hope to use my interests and technology skills to help my students feel comfortable with technology. I want them to see that there are so many possibilities ahead of them if they learn to hone their skills and use technology in any field they choose. I also want them to take failure in stride. In every single class, we discuss failures and how to overcome and grow from them. To grow, you have to fail. To create a safe environment for failure, I share stories of scientific failures that years later were deemed a success, like Post-It notes. I also share stories of failures that required numerous revisions and redesigns, like WD-40 which resulted after 39 failures. We talk about my own stories of failure and not giving up so they see that overcoming failure is a lifelong journey. I tell them of my crippling fear of applying to graduate school for fear of not being accepted and how I only recently overcame that fear. I help them understand the power and learning that come from getting it wrong but not giving up. The word “yet” is often spoken in my room, and it holds incredible power and encourages potential when students believe it. In my classroom, students are given opportunities to fail at a task to evaluate what went wrong and try again. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education is a direct way to help students experience success through failure. The design process that STEAM incorporates is built around learning from failures. Coding and robotics programs also build student confidence in overcoming failure. Students in my classroom and robotics club learn quickly that programing is trial and error. Students learn to pinpoint what caused them to be unsuccessful in their task so they can modify their plan and try again. The tenacity and resiliency students learn through these opportunities carry over to other subjects lessening the grip that fear of failure has on them, and encourages them to take risks. Students who are willing to take risks, fail, and try again are going to be the leaders our world will need. They will have confidence in their ability to solve the problems of tomorrow and the skills to work together as a team with others on those problems. When students are not afraid to fail and learn from it, the future is wide open to them. This is how I envision using my skills to make the world a better place. By making sure that my students have the determination and grit to work through failure. To dust themselves off and try again. I hope to help cultivate grownups who believe in hard work to reach a goal and have the perseverance to turn failures into successes. That is how I hope to make tomorrow better than today.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Nov 19, 2021. Winners will be announced on Dec 18, 2021.

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