EiE Director Receives IEEE Award for Engineering Education


Gregory Kelly
EiE director Christine Cunningham (r) with DC teacher Vanessa Ford, also an award recipient.
Monday, November 23, 2015

Museum of Science vice president Christine Cunningham, Ph.D., has been recognized by IEEE, the world’s largest professional association advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, with the 2015 Educational Activities Board (EAB) Pre-University Educator Award. Cunningham, the founder and director of the Museum’s Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) project, accepted the award on Fri., Nov. 20, 2015 at the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities board meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The award, which includes a $1,000 prize, recognizes individuals who have inspired PreK – 12 students to appreciate and understand mathematics, science, technology, and engineering, and to pursue careers in this field. Vanessa Ford, a STEM teacher in the Washington, DC Public Schools who uses EiE as part of the STEM curriculum, was also recognized with this award.

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the whole EiE team, and I’m proud of the positive impact our curriculum has had in elementary schools across the country,” says Cunningham. “The working professional engineers and scientists who make up IEEE’s membership recognize that early exposure to engineering has a significant positive impact on kids’ career choices down the road; that we can—and must—start cultivating the next generation of global innovators long before they take their first college-level engineering class.”

EiE is a project of the Museum’s National Center for Technological Literacy®, which was established by Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis to introduce engineering in schools and museums nationwide, beginning with children in the early years.“We are thrilled that IEEE has recognized Christine for her many educational achievements,” says Miaoulis. “Engineering is Elementary is a wonderful example. It has greatly expanded the Museum’s ability to inspire students and teachers with engaging, hands-on engineering activities across the country and now globally.”

When the EiE project launched more than a decade ago, in 2003, many educators were skeptical that engineering had a place in the elementary classroom; today that idea has been mainstreamed in new science standards in many states. “Christine is a pioneer and visionary in introducing young children to engineering concepts and practices,” says Dr. Teri Reed, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs for Engineering at Texas A&M University. “In particular, she is deeply committed getting underserved and underrepresented children engaged and interested in engineering and science. EiE materials were developed with this commitment in mind.”

“Christine’s leadership in developing and implementing the Engineering is Elementary program has been completely transformative,” agrees Dr. Laura Bottomley, director of The Engineering Place at North Carolina State University. “She has defied the stereotype that engineering is too complex for elementary students and teachers by providing solid and ongoing support for professional development for teachers and high-quality materials for classroom use.”

One of the first curricula in the nation to bring engineering into the elementary classroom, EiE has reached more than 9 million students nationwide. Both internal and external evaluations show that EiE increases student understanding of science and engineering and develops student interest in engineering careers—and that this holds true for all students: girls as well as boys, students from minority populations historically underrepresented in STEM careers, and students of all abilities.

About Engineering is Elementary

The 20-unit Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) curriculum integrates engineering and technology with science, language arts, social studies, and math via storybooks and hands-on design activities for 1st – 5th graders. The nation's largest elementary engineering curriculum, EiE has reached an estimated 100,000 teachers and more than 9 million students nationwide; Delaware is the first state to introduce EiE into elementary schools statewide; the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council has chosen EiE for the state's STEM Scale-up; and EiE is also the model for a European Commission-funded initiative to introduce engineering in primary schools and museums in nine European countries and Israel. Studies reveal positive outcomes for all student demographics.

About the Museum of Science, Boston

One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces nearly 1.4 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum is the nation's first science center with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in museums and schools nationwide. In 2015, its NCTL received the National Science Board's Public Service Award. NCTL curricula have reached 9.5 million students and 104,000 teachers.  The Museum's 10,000-square-foot Hall of Human Life draws on the latest discoveries in the life sciences to engage visitors in their own biology and health. Other highlights include The Science Behind Pixar (through Jan 10, 2016), the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, Butterfly Garden and 4-D Theater. Reaching over 20,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. Visit http://www.mos.org. Follow the Museum of Science on Twitter at @MuseumOfScience or Facebook at www.facebook.com/museumofscience.

About IEEE
IEEE is the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org








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