The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards program annually honors Western Massachusetts educators and seeks to motivate teachers at all stages of their careers to aspire to excellence. Sandra Lambert, Engineering and Computer Science Teacher at the Springfield High School of Science and Technology, was one of 27 teachers selected for this award out 2700 other teachers in Western Massachusetts. She will receive the Excellence in Teaching award at a special banquet on May 9th, 2019, at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Sandra worked with IGERT PhD Mo Kaikai on his dissertation project on Sustainable Energy Education.
The Assistant Principal at the school, Elliott Best, had this to say about Sandra:
Mrs. Lambert has displayed a mastery and love for her area of study and subject matter, that being the field of computer science and engineering. Her love of computer science shines through as she creates engaging and rigorous lessons to reach all types of learners. Mrs. Lambert works with her students at the high school level to help them determine and achieve their post-secondary goals. Since 2016, Mrs. Lambert has been assisting UMass doctoral candidate Mo Kaikai in his research in increasing underrepresented minorities in STEM fields via sustainable engineering. She was selected as the lead teacher to work in collaboration with UMASS faculty for a Learn and Earn Grant awarded in 2017. This competitive Learn and Earn Grant was only awarded to six applicants throughout Massachusetts, providing $160,000 to fund an educational program that starts within the school year and segues into a paid summer internship that gave 25 students hands-on engineering experience and a foundation in career development. The UMass/HSST program started in late January 2018 and concluded in August 2018. Students worked with contractors to assemble solar powered phone charging stations, a solar powered display board, and a wind turbine in back of their high school. All of these activities and so many more have increased engagement and assisted in curious learners.