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Freeman Teacher Janice Rickey Awarded STEM Professional Development Scholarship

Janice Rickey, Freeman STEM CoordinatorJanice Rickey, STEM Coordinator at Rachel Freeman School of Engineering, has been selected to receive a professional development scholarship from the award-winning STEM curriculum Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®), developed by the Museum of Science, Boston. Ms. Rickey was one of 49 elementary school teachers from 21 states to be awarded this scholarship. A scholarship from Engineering is Elementary (EiE®) will support professional development for Ms. Rickey, helping her introduce the engineering and technology components of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to her students using the award-winning Engineering is Elementary curriculum. Scholarship recipients engage in high-quality professional development and leave with a set of classroom materials.

This scholarship is funded by the Museum of Science, Boston, where Engineering is Elementary was created as part of its mission to introduce engineering and technological literacy in schools and lifelong learning centers nationwide. Although many states have recently implemented new academic standards that put unprecedented emphasis on the "E" in STEM, engineering is a new subject for many elementary teachers, and most say they don’t feel well prepared to teach it.

"By funding scholarships for teachers, we advance our mission to reach children who are underserved or traditionally underrepresented in STEM,” says EiE Director and Museum Vice President Christine Cunningham. "One way we support high-quality engineering education for all students is through our research-based curriculum and through accessible professional development programs, which are designed to give teachers the subject-matter knowledge and pedagogical framework they need to be successful teaching engineering.”

"Mrs. Rickey embodies the phrase 'lifelong learner',” says Susan Sellers, principal of Rachel Freeman School of Engineering. “She is at a point in her career that she could be coasting and counting down to retirement. However, her energy and thirst for learning all things technology and engineering to bring back to the students and teachers at Freeman is incredible. This scholarship from EiE is well-deserved and we can't wait to see what she brings back!"

“We must introduce children as early as possible to the engineering design skills that will spark them to use science and math to solve real problems,” says Ioannis (Yannis) Miaoulis, Museum of Science president and director. “Engineering can bring science alive, make it relevant, and spark future innovators.”

Engineering may not seem like an obvious subject for elementary school students to study. But research shows instruction in engineering enhances the way students learn science—as well as math and other subjects. “Children are born engineers,” says EiE Founder and Director Christine Cunningham. “They love to build things—and they love to take things apart to see how they work. EiE helps teachers connect the dots between this natural passion for engineering and traditional science and math education.”
EiE was developed with support from the National Science Foundation. The research-based, standards-driven curriculum is organized around 20 engineering challenges. Students read storybooks about children from around the world who are faced with design challenges. After reading the stories, the students work in teams, just like real engineers, to solve real world problems such as building bridges or designing biomedical devices. An interdisciplinary and hands-on curriculum, EiE has already reached nearly 126,000 teachers and an estimated 12.8 million students at schools in all 50 states.

The Museum of Science, Boston’s Engineering is Elementary® Program was initiated in 2003, the Museum’s EiE program taps into the natural curiosity of elementary school children to cultivate their understanding of engineering and technology. Its curriculum provides a structure for teamwork as students work together to apply their knowledge of science and math in creative ways, and to design, create and improve possible solutions.

The EiE curriculum consists of 20 engineering units featuring children from diverse cultures and backgrounds around the world. Unit titles include Catching the Wind: Designing Windmills; Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes; and Taking the Plunge: Designing Submersibles. Further information on EiE units is available at


Posted: 07/31/17