March 2017 CenturyLink STEM Excellence Award

Isaac Wright, a sixth grade student at Mapleton Elementary School in Nebo School District, is the March 2017 CenturyLink STEM Excellence Awardee. The STEM Action Center partners with the Utah Jazz and CenturyLink to recognize outstanding students that have demonstrated their commitment and passion for excellence in their STEM efforts in school and their community.

Isaac was recognized at the March 13 Jazz game for the incredible STEM related work he’s done for his school and in his community. Here’s what his teacher, Kelsey Foster, wrote for his nomination:

“Isaac is a wonderful student who shows real interest, passion, and skills for STEM education. Although he is only 11, I have noticed he has a great understanding and interest in STEM. Not only is he fully engaged in each of the STEM curriculum activities in class, but he is very active in STEM outside of regular school hours.

  • Participated (and been the student chair) of the after school STEM club since he was in 2nd grade!
  • Built several ROV (Underwater Robotics) – which involves designing the robot, building it, and being able to effectively drive it to solve underwater problems (like retrieving chemical spills from a downed airplane).
  • Designed in 3D programs various rockets, and then printed them using a 3D printer he helped set up.
  • Learned how to program various video games, and really enjoys designing in several different CAD programs.
  • Designed and built various inventions (like a cold and hot beverage holder, a replaceable gun barrel, several new hands-on games, such as a balloon carrying carriage challenge).
  • Participated in several Lego Mindstorm (Robotics) competitions since age eight, where he has built robots that can detect walls, follow lines, and pick up objects all autonomously.
  • Completed his engineering and technology merit badges for scouts.

“Isaac is a wonderful student who shows real interest, passion, and skills for STEM education”

What I love about Isaac is he has done all this, while serving on our school’s student council, getting excellent grades in English, art and mathematics, while also playing basketball, football and soccer on various club teams.

But the most impressive thing I noticed this semester was when a new engineering challenge was presented to the class, and each student had to find a partner to solve it over the subsequent five weeks. Because of his experience, several students wanted to be his partner, but instead of partnering up with one of his buddies from his sports teams, he went over to the shiest girl in class and asked her to be his partner. She agreed, and together they designed and built a solution that won the engineering (STEM focused) challenge.

Isaac is really a pleasure to have in class –and I love watching how he learns and thinks, especially in the STEM disciplines, because I recognize how much blending between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics he naturally makes. He is a great example for my other students.”

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