Curtis Meyer reporter
Pitt State has been selected for a prestigious STEM award, the School of Excellence Award created by the International Technology and Engineering Education Association, or ITEEA. Awarded to schools around the world who demonstrate the ability to go beyond in their STEM education, this is the inaugural year for this award.
“This means that Pitt State has demonstrated that they are exceptional at providing many diverse types of stem opportunities and programs, including STEM outreach, community service, collaborations with faculty, diversity projects, initiatives, career fairs, student organizations, publications, professional groups and all the things that a university could do to be considered outstanding,” said Professor Bryon McKay, part of the technology engineering education program here at Pitt State.
McKay did the actual paperwork and turned in the application to the ITEEA. As an awards chair for a committee not related to this award, McKay was aware of the upcoming award and was encouraged to apply for it by fellow faculty and ITEEA member professor Andrew Klenke.
This is not a yearly award; it is more of a recognition that Pitt State has achieved a certain level of STEM education and will carry this School of Excellence designation for the near future. This being the first year of this award’s existence, Pitt State will carry the honor of being one of the first schools selected.
“They’ve done the K-12 (kindergarten through high school) STEM School of Excellence award for a while now; this is the first year they’ve done the university one. This is the inaugural group, there were six universities added, I’m sure more will be added in the future. It’s nice to be the first one,” said McKay.
The ITEEA itself has been around for a long time, founded in 1939 as the American Industrial Arts Association. Since then, the ITEEA has been at the forefront of STEM education, helping to provide resources to each new generation of STEM students and their teachers.
For McKay, this award is justification of the hard work his students and fellow staff put into the program.
“I was able to pull everything I needed and way more from across campus because we do so much. If I made this a collaborative project where I brought in a representative from every college, we would’ve had this massive document that would’ve easily qualified us,” said McKay.
For Pitt State, this becomes another feather for the school to use for bragging rights and recruitment, highlighting what makes Pitt State stand out from others. Awards like these will stick with Pitt State, always part of the pride of the schools many STEM programs.
“I hope Pitt State throughout the University is proud of the fact that they are being recognized for this. I hope everyone can use this as an example of recruitment for showing our future students that we go above and beyond and find ways to apply their knowledge. Give them hands on opportunities, give them extra-curricular opportunities, time inside the classroom to do what they need to do to be prepared for life after the University,” said McKay.