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News Room

2016 STEM Innovation Awards Recipients Announced

May 09 2016 - 12:09 pm

News Release
For Immediate Release
May 9, 2016

Kaitlin Felsted, Marketing Communications Specialist
STEM Action Center

2016 STEM Innovation Awards Recipients Announced
Five Utah residents to be recognized for their contributions to STEM education

SALT LAKE CITY – The STEM Action Center will hold their second STEM Innovation Awards ceremony in partnership with the Utah Technology Council at their annual Utah Innovation Awards luncheon on Wednesday, May 11.

The STEM Innovation Awards are an opportunity to recognize five Utah residents that are excelling in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Nominations were open to the general public from February to April of this year. The STEM Action Center team and the STEM Action Center Board, through a rigorous process, chose this year’s honorees in the following categories:

• Student: Emily Naylor, Senior at Mountain Heights Academy
• Teacher: Katie Rogers, 4th Grade STEM Teacher at Thunder Ridge Elementary
• Principal: Matthew Lowe, Title I School Site Coordinator at Hurricane Elementary School
• Mentor: Steven Shumway, Professional Development Provider for K-12 STEM Education at Brigham Young University
• Counselor: Zekeriya Temircan, Academic Dean at Beehive Science and Technology Academy

Dr. Tamara Goetz, executive director of the Utah STEM Action Center, along with Richard Nelson, president and CEO of Utah Technology Council will present the awards.

“The STEM Action Center’s STEM Innovation awards are unique,” Dr. Goetz said. “With the variety of categories, we highlight the fact that it takes ‘a village’ to achieve success in STEM education. These awards recognize the outstanding commitment and contributions from all sides but put a special spotlight on the amazing achievements of our friends and colleagues.”

As part of the awards the teacher, counselor, principal and mentor will receive $2,000 to grow STEM in Utah, while the student will receive an iPad mini.

Note: See below for recipient information. Contact Kaitlin Felsted for interviews and photos.


About the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED)
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) charter is based on Governor Gary Herbert’s commitment to economic development statewide. Utah’s economic development vision is that Utah will lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global business environment and tourist destination. The mandate for this office is to provide rich business resources for the creation, growth and recruitment of companies to Utah and to increase tourism and film production in the state. GOED accomplishes this mission through the administration of programs that are based around targeted industries or “economic clusters” that demonstrate the best potential for development. GOED utilizes state resources and private sector contracts to fulfill its mission. For more information please contact: Aimee Edwards, 801-538-8811 or

About the STEM Action Center
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Action Center works to develop Utah’s workforce of the future by prioritizing STEM education. The program drives research and implementation of STEM education best practices across Utah by coordinating STEM-related activities, creating and coordinating proven STEM education best practices, facilitating educator access to those tools, align public STEM education and higher STEM education activities.


Emily.NaylorStudent: Emily Naylor

Emily Naylor has excelled in math and sciences, receiving straight A’s in both. She participated in her school math club. In 2014 Emily was diagnosed with stage five kidney failure due to a rare disease called Dense Deposit Disease. After six months of trying to save the kidney, she had to go on dialysis for a year until finally receiving a new kidney in June of 2015. Unfortunately, she will deal with this disease for the rest of her life, but she hasn’t let it stop her. Even though she missed about a year and a half of school, she is on track to graduate on time and has still kept up her GPA. She was even chosen to be her school’s Sterling Scholar in science. She is thankful for the science that saved her life, for all the scientists in the past that made it possible for her to live, for those that are working for a cure for her disease, and for those that are working on stem cells so that she can regrow her own kidney. She put together a school science day to help middle school students see how fun and exciting science can be.

Katie.RogersTeacher: Katie Rogers
Katie Rogers is a 4th grade STEM teacher at Thunder Ridge Elementary in Saratoga Springs. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho in elementary education. Mrs. Rogers has been teaching in the Alpine School District for 13 years. She has taught 3rd-5th grades and has developed an after-school STEM Club. Mrs. Rogers has taken multiple education classes and received her math endorsement, U.S. History cohort, and is currently completing her STEM endorsement. She was recently awarded the PTA “Teacher of the Year” for her school. Mrs. Rogers has taught in-service classes for her school, district, and also teaches online math classes through the Utah State Office of Education.

She has taught CORE Academy classes and has served on several SAGE testing panels and ACT Inspire teams. She works at writing grants for her classroom and grade level and has received over $10,000 in grant monies this last year. Mrs. Rogers is dedicated to her passion of teaching and helping students. She loves seeing her students engaged in curriculum and extending their education beyond the classroom. She and her husband Neal have three boys who they love playing with.
Matthew.LowePrincipal: Matthew Lowe

Matthew Lowe has worked in education as a teacher, counselor and administrator for the last 16 years in Utah and California. He now works as a Title I School Site Coordinator at Hurricane Elementary School where he works to make sure his students have access to a great STEM education, better attendance and greater parent involvement. Matthew is an all-round nice guy and is well-liked by his students.

With teacher and parent support, Matthew has created six FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams comprised of more than 40 Hurricane Elementary students. Over the course of a season, these 40 students program their robots, learn teamwork skills, and engineer an inventive solution to a specific problem—and then compete with 55 other teams at the Washington County FLL tournament. Over the past three years, Matthew has been named Washington County FLL Coach of the Year, and his teams have come home with awards for innovation, teamwork, research, presentation skills, strategy and gracious professionalism. As students have left his program and have advanced to intermediate and middle school, Matthew has mentored those schools to allow them to also form robotics clubs that have competed in the regional and state FLL tournament.

Matthew also coordinates and runs after-school and summer robotics programs that teach robotics and programming skills to another 60 2nd and 3rd graders. Matthew loves his school and his students, and feels lucky to work in the school where his children and neighbors attend and feels a duty to make sure that Hurricane Elementary is a high-achieving school that focuses on STEM education

Steven.ShumwayMentor: Dr. Steven Shumway

Dr. Shumway is a professor for the Technology & Engineering Education program in the Fulton College of Engineering and Technology at Brigham Young University. He is an active member of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association and is a past-president of the Utah Technology and Engineering Educators Association.

Dr. Shumway has published in various education journals and is a regular presenter at state, regional and national conferences. His research interests include student motivation in the classroom, and developing and teaching engineering-related curriculum to elementary, middle and high school students.




Zack.TemircanCounselor: Zack Temircan

Zack Temircan is an Academic Dean at Beehive Science and Technology Academy (BSTA) in Sandy, Utah. Zack received his BS in biology, M.A. in educational leadership, and Ph.D. in health psychology. After graduation, Zack launched his career in Oakland, California, where he began his science teaching, Science Olympiad coaching, science position as department head, and STEM related projects. Zack worked with the UC Berkeley biology/physics department for five years to prepare his students for many International Science Olympiads. That eventually led to many years mentoring and coaching with many students in science. After he received his Master in Educational Leadership, he began working as Dean of Academics at BSTA at the same time he started work on his Ph.D.

He has been working in same position for four years at BSTA and now currently oversees all the academic programs. He provides curriculum and professional development support for teachers and works closely with a diverse group of administrators, teachers and parents to institute numerous programs.