Governor Terry McAuliffe and Science Museum of Virginia Chief Wonder Officer, Richard C. Conti, announced the recipients of the Governor’s Award for Science Innovation presented by Altria and Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists of 2014 during a reception at the Science Museum of Virginia on January 16.
NOVA’s SySTEMic Solutions was honored with the Governor’s Award for Science Innovation. Physicist, Bradley Cox, from the University of Virginia, and molecular biologist, Paul B. Fisher, from the Virginia Commonwealth University were named Virginia’s Outstanding Scientists of 2014.
In a statement, McAuliffe commended SySTEMic Solutions for making “significant leaps in developing Virginia’s STEM workforce pipeline.” He went on to say the program’s “creativity, contributions and dedication are making Virginia a worldwide leader in STEM.”
SySTEMic Solutions’ mission is to develop a sustainable STEM pipeline in Northern Virginia. Through collaborations with school divisions, businesses, higher education institutions and community organizations, the program engages students in elementary school to inspire them to pursue STEM education in high school, college and into the workforce. After getting off to a great start in Prince William County, the program is currently expanding across Northern Virginia. The program aims to have 40,000 students preparing for STEM careers by 2016.
SySTEMic Solutions Director, Amy Harris, accepted the award on behalf of NOVA.
“We are thrilled to have earned this award, and want to give heartfelt thanks to Governor McAuliffe and all the partners who contribute to the success of NOVA’s SySTEMic Solutions on a daily basis with such vision, hard work and innovation,” Harris said. “The real payoff from this award is that the recognition means we can strengthen the STEM pipeline just that much more, that we can increase the workforce talent in our region that extra measure. Ultimately, the winners are the students and employers in Northern Virginia who are breaking through many barriers and exceeding expectations to be voices for STEM both now and in the future.”
“This award for SySTEMic Solutions is well deserved,” said Manassas Provost Roger Ramsammy, who was tapped by NOVA’s president to spearhead the regional expansion of the initiative. “Amy and her staff have worked hard to create a widespread coalition of interested stakeholders who share a desire to get children excited about science and technology at an early age. The programming they present in the K-12 schools is truly inspiring, from robotics camps and science contests for students to professional development for teachers.”
President Robert G. Templin, Jr. congratulated SySTEMic Solutions for receiving the Governor’s Award.
“I am extremely pleased that SySTEMic Solutions has received this prestigious recognition. This innovative program that increases the number of students pursuing STEM education plays a crucial role in the economic competitiveness of our region. We must continue to graduate more skilled workers, and honors like the Governor’s Award encourage everyone to continue these vital efforts,” Templin said.
Templin recently participated in the White House Summit on Expanding College Opportunity, where he pledged to expand several NOVA programs, including SySTEMic Solutions, that work together to improve college access and success for low-income, minority and immigrant students. In addition to pledging to increase the number of students in STEM studies, Templin committed to expanding NOVA’s successful Achieving the Dream initiative, Pathway to the Baccalaureate, GPS for Success, developmental education redesign and partnerships with community-based organizations.