Congrats to all STEM Foundation Entrepreneurial Challenge Winners!

Katherine KireievComputer Science, STEM Awards, STEM Foundation, STEM in Utah, STEM Industry, STEM Partners, STEM Team

Utah STEM Foundation Celebrates Girls Who Code Challenge Awardees

The Utah STEM Foundation announced the awardees of its inaugural Girls Who Code (GWC) Entrepreneurial Challenge in a celebrative ceremony at Recursion in Salt Lake City on April 25, 2019.

Loyal STEM education supporter and KUTV news anchor Holly Menino emceed the event, which drew Challenge finalists, their GWC peers and families, and community supporters, amounting to nearly 200 celebrants.

Offered in partnership with Carbonite, Comcast, Centeva and Recursion, the Utah STEM Foundation Entrepreneurial Challenge was launched to encourage greater female representation in STEM, as well as to inspire girls’ pursuit of leadership roles, entrepreneurship, and challenge them to aim for career opportunities in which women have been—and continue to be—underrepresented.

“Our economy, our society, we are just losing out because we are not raising our girls to be brave,” said Emily Ong, Senior Manager of Girls Who Code Community Partnerships and Outreach, who traveled from the nonprofit’s NYC headquarters for this first-of-its-kind event. “The bravery deficit is why women are underrepresented in STEM, in C-suites, in boardrooms, in Congress, and pretty much everywhere you look.”

Four award categories were offered, all calling for entries that best address contemporary societal issues (social, civic engagement, environment, etc.) and applications were open to Girls Who Code clubs statewide.

The four Entrepreneurial Challenge categories and respective awards and awardees (with links to Project Challenge entries):

Challenge Essay Award – open to 3rd-5th grade clubs

Challenge Essay awardees received framed certificates and $250 to expand computer science programs.

    • Riley Lewis (The Leonardo)
    • Vidushi Shelat (The Leonardo)
    • Alyssa Sweeney (The Leonardo)

Facilitator Award – open to all clubs

Facilitator Awardees received framed certificates and $500 to expand computer science programs.

    • Kelli Olsen, North Star Academy Charter School teacher
    • Ann Riding, North Davis Jr. High library specialist
    • Kami Taylor, Sunset Ridge Middle School teacher

Peer Mentor Award – open to 6th-12th grade clubs

Peer Mentor Awardees received framed certificates and $500 to expand computer science programs.

  • Susana Shadrack, 12th grade, UT5989
  • Kaitlyn Tenney, 6th grade, Elk Meadows Elementary School
  • Kaytee Tiede, 8th grade, North Davis Jr. High School

Project Challenge Award – open to 6th-12th grade clubs

The following three Project Challenge Awardees received framed certificates, a club trophy, and $1,000 to expand computer science programs:

    • App for NDJ — North Davis Junior High School Club
      Their “Thunkable” app is meant to connect and engage students in school-related clubs, providing details not currently offered on the school’s website.
      Facilitator: Ann Riding
      Club members:

      • Madison Newhall
      • Kaytee Tiede
      • Katie Kent
      • Emma Peterson
      • Trin Waite
      • Brooklyn Thornton
      • Jessica Shupe
      • Celine Tucker
    • Brave, Not Perfect — Juab High School Club
      Their “Beauty Run” video game provides common scenarios young girls face, rewarding them for opting to be “brave,” addressing self-esteem & confidence.
      Facilitator: Krystle Bassett
      Club members:
      • Abby Kilcrease
      • Emma Gibb
      • Isabel Wright
      • Isabelle Rogers
      • Katelyn Trimble
      • Kayla Reza
      • Laynee Bentley
      • Paige Butler
      • Rylee Hahn
      • Therea Collins

The “Most Marketable” Project Challenge Awardees received framed certificates, a club trophy, and $1,500 to go toward development of their marketable project.

PC Hack (Park City Hackathon) — Park City High School Club
The Park City High School Club launched their own hackathon, for girls only. Their goals is to engage more girls in coding, helping address the tech jobs gender gap.

Facilitator: Kelly Henderson

  • Club members:
  • Claire Oberg
  • Sela Serafin
  • Kirsten Keblish
  • Annabella Miller
  • Megan Guetschow
  • Natalie Fink
  • Hailey Hultberg
  • Anna Diamond
  • Ellie Anderson
  • Mia Li Cutler
  • Emma Greally

The “Game Changer” Project Challenge Awardees received framed certificates, a club trophy, and $2,500 to go toward development of their game-changing project.

Food4Good — Park City High School Club
Their Food4Good mobile app aims to eliminate food waste by connecting local restaurants with food banks and efficiently facilitating the donation of food.

Facilitator: Kelly Henderson
Club members:

  • Claire Oberg
  • Sela Serafin
  • Megan Geutschow

“The Utah STEM Foundation is impressed by the caliber of entries submitted for this year’s challenge,” said Allison Spencer, Utah STEM Foundation Director.

In addition to generous support from Carbonite, Comcast, Centeva and Recursion, California Pizza Kitchen at The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City offered a 20 percent discount to all Entrepreneurial Challenge Awards Ceremony participants that evening.

For more information about the Utah STEM Foundation Entrepreneurial Challenge, please contact: Allison Spencer at 801-520-5235 or

Beehive Academy’s Trinity Mauer, Utah STEM Action Center Receive CenturyLink Honors

Katherine KireievComputer Science, STEM Awards, STEM in Utah, STEM Industry, STEM Partners, STEM Team

Lorie (left) and Trinity Mauer wait courtside in the Jazz players’ seats in the run-up to the halftime CenturyLink STEM Excellence Ceremony.

Trinity Mauer, a junior at Beehive Science and Technology Academy, began receiving recognition and awards for her passionate STEM pursuits since the fifth grade, maintaining exceptional grades and scoring several notable wins along the way. Trinity added another accolade to her roster in receiving the CenturyLink STEM Excellence Award at halftime during the Utah Jazz’s April 9, 2019, game against the Denver Nuggets at Vivint Smart Home Arena in downtown Salt Lake City, to cap this season’s STEM Excellence Award program.

Trinity’s hard work has resulted in several awards outside of the classroom, says Hanifi Oguz, Executive Director of the Beehive Science and Technology Academy in Sandy, Utah. In March 2018, she won the National Center for Women and Information & Technology’s Aspirations in Computing Award. According to the organization’s website, “Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing; leadership ability; academic history; and plans for post-secondary education.” Trinity has also caught the eye of the Congressional Award committee, earning a Bronze Medal Level Award in April 2018.

Trinity has also been active in FIRST Robotics (FIRST is an acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). In April 2017, at an award ceremony held in Houston at the world competition, Trinity was named to the FIRST Dean’s List — an honor reserved for only 200 students worldwide each year.

Trinity also serves as a strong voice and proponent of STEM-related activities. She has represented Beehive Science and Technology Academy for the past four years at the Utah State Capitol, where she spoke with the governor, state legislators and school board members about the importance of teaching STEM at Utah’s schools, and funding robotics programs in elementary and middle schools.

As an intern at the University of Utah’s Great Camps program through the Engineering Department, Trinity taught programming to younger students from across the state for six weeks in the summer of 2018. As the creator of the Sandy City Outreach Association, a group that utilizes and demonstrates all levels of robotics, Trinity oversaw demonstrations at the Hill Air Force Air Show and Utah STEM Fest.

So, what’s it all about for Trinity? She says she is passionate about fusing creativity with applied math and physics to engineer outside-of-the-box solutions to complex problems.

“I enjoy trying to think of a way to build a robot to accomplish something, knowing ‘this won’t work mathematically, or that won’t work because of physics.’ But I still try to figure it out — like walking around a puzzle maze in my mind until you find a way in,” Trinity says.

It’s no wonder, then, that Trinity will find herself in another major competitive arena just days after her win on the Jazz’s home court. Having earned her way to the FIRST Robotics World Championships for the fourth year in a row, Trinity’s off to Houston from April 17-20 to take on some of the world’s best young roboticians amid the world’s largest celebration of STEM for students!

Congratulations, Trinity, on achieving such outstanding honors and bearing the torch of our state’s STEM successes on the world stage. And above all, thank you for serving as a standout STEM role model for Utah’s young learners…especially Utah girls.

And special thanks to our loyal STEM supporters CenturyLink, together with the Utah Jazz and NBA, for front-line and behind-the-scenes support, helping us continue our mission to spark students’ interests in STEM through engaging, hands-on best practices in education and equitable opportunities for all Utah students.

STEM Signing Day applications open

Katherine KireievComputer Science, STEM Awards, STEM in Utah, STEM Industry, STEM Partners, STEM Team

High school seniors in Utah who are interested in pursuing a career in the STEM field can now apply to be a part of the first annual Utah STEM Signing Day, presented by Boeing and the Utah STEM Action Center.

This STEM Signing Day, powered by Tallo, recognizes and celebrates the next generation of STEM talent from around the state. Just like college signing days for athletes, students will sign a letter of intent to pursue a two- or four-year degree in the STEM field after high school.

“We’re excited to support Utah’s first STEM Signing Day and honor the accomplishments of local students who are pursuing careers in STEM,” said Chris Bray, community investor at Boeing. “There is a high demand for STEM talent especially at companies like Boeing, and this is a great opportunity to recognize Utah’s future innovators.”

If chosen, the students from across the state will be recognized at the Utah State Capitol grounds on April 29, 2019. Education, business, and community leaders from around the state will attend the ceremony and join Boeing, the STEM Action Center, and Tallo in recognizing these students’ talents and drive for success.

“We are excited to work with Boeing to elevate and recognize Utah students for their commitment and achievements in their STEM education pursuits,” said Dr. Tamara Goetz, STEM Action Center director. “We know that these students will solve the problems of today and innovate for the challenges of the future.”

Any Utah high school senior graduating in 2019 can apply by first creating an online account on Tallo. The deadline to apply is April 12, 2019. More information on the application process can be found at:

Park City Math Institute Co-Creator becomes 1st Female to Win ‘Nobel Prize of math’

Katherine KireievSTEM Awards, STEM in Utah, STEM Partners

In another landmark moment for Women’s History Month 2019, U.S. Mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has become the first female to win the Abel Prize — which is commonly regarded as the “the Nobel Prize of Math.”

Among her great achievements is her extensive outreach work, including the co-creation of PCMI, the Park City Mathematics Institute right here in Utah. PCMI is an intensive, annual three-week opportunity for research mathematicians to meet and exchange ideas with school teachers and students. Also notable is Karen’s work setting up the Women and Mathematics Program at Princeton University’s  Institute for Advanced Study, with the mission to recruit and retain more women in mathematics.

See the ceremony and learn more about this marvelous modern-day STEM pioneer:

Roy 5th Grader Kayden Branch Earns STEM Excellence Award

Katherine KireievSTEM Awards, STEM in Utah, STEM Partners

Municipal Elementary School student Kayden Branch’s love of math has consistently placed him at the top of his class in the subject throughout his K-5th grade career. The 5th grader’s high math marks and remarkable robotics skills were rewarded at halftime during the March 14, 2019, Jazz home game at Vivint Arena, with Kayden joining the ranks of fellow CenturyLink STEM Excellence Awardees.

Since 3rd grade, Kayden has represented his school at the annual Math & Science Olympiad in Weber County as one of the highest-ranking kids in Krypto. Krypto is a quick-moving math game that applies addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Combining these concepts and five number cards, students must create a sum number on a subject card. The first one to do so calls out “Krypto!” for the win. He’s successfully competed against his Weber County peers each year.

This year, Kayden joined an extracurricular robotics club that meets an hour before school starts. His teacher, Mrs. Daley, reports that his ability to grasp the concepts and help his peers quickly positioned him as leader of the group. While many of his schoolmates are just starting their day, Kayden is already happily humming along at math and science, creating his own robot and gladly assisting his peers with theirs.

“I enjoy math and science and being able to help others learn it,” Kayden says.  “I love building things and helping people fix things.”

Though he’s well ahead of his time, the math-mastering 5th grader hasn’t yet come up with the answer for how STEM will factor into his future. “I still have lots of time to figure out what I want to be, but I like experimenting with new things and being able to help people learn what I have learned,” Kayden said.

Congratulations, Kayden, on receiving the CenturyLink STEM Excellence Award. Keep up the great work—you’re truly an inspiration!

Enrollment is Open for Professional Learning!

Katherine KireievComputer Science, STEM in Utah, STEM Industry, STEM Partners

We’re excited to announce that applications for’s Professional Learning Program for CS Principles and CS Discoveries are now open. If your school plans to offer these courses in 2019-20, please encourage interested teachers to apply today!’s Professional Learning Program is an intensive, yearlong professional learning program for middle-and high school educators who are interested in teaching’s CS Discoveries (middle school) or CS Principles (high school) courses. These programs are designed to prepare educators to provide high-quality instruction based on the curriculum, tools and approach to students in their classrooms. Best of all, you don’t need any prior computer science experience to get started!

Teachers who apply and are accepted to the program commit to:

  • Attending the five-day, in-person summer workshop. The summer workshop will be held June 24th-June 28th, in Draper, Utah.

  • Attending two to four local one-day, in-person workshops (held on Saturdays)

  • Teaching the course during the 2019-20 school year

  • Supporting the recruitment and enrollment of a diverse group of students in the course, representative of the school’s overall student population

To apply for a seat in the summer cohort, visit: and fill out an application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Due to generous industry support from Hill Air Force Base and Dell EMC, we are able to offer scholarships to all teachers that are accepted into the professional learning program.

If you know a teacher that would be a great fit for our program? You can nominate them here:

Thank you for supporting computer science education for all Utah students!