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Staff Accomplishments

Two PNNL Staff Go Beyond the Office Walls to Help Students Excel

Christian Johnson and Elizabeth Stephens recognized with Fitzner-Eberhardt Award for their support of STEM educationtheir support of STEM education

June 2016

Between work, errands, and duties at home, life can get pretty busy. But two PNNL employees have made a point to squeeze something extra into their schedules—helping students excel in science and engineering.

Christian Johnson and Elizabeth Stephens have spent countless hours volunteering their time, and in May 2016 they were recognized with the Fitzner-Eberhardt Award for their Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) education efforts.

Christian Johnson

Johnson, a chemical engineer, was awarded for his support of mathematical education. In 2015, his volunteerism inspired an additional 31 volunteers to contribute 163 hours each month to coach and tutor math students.

In 2009, Johnson started the Math Mentors/Coaches project as part of the Team Battelle volunteer program. Since then, over 2,500 students have benefited from the project, which includes student mentoring, math competitions, and after-school clubs. Additionally, Johnson supports efforts related to PNNL’s Office of STEM Education.

Elizabeth Stephens

Stephens, a materials science engineer, was also recognized with a Fitzner-Eberhardt award for her support of numerous local, regional, and national STEM education efforts. Stephens serves as PNNL’s official liaison for the Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities Mathematics, Engineering, Science Advancement (MESA).

Stephens promotes STEM education in a variety of ways, from conducting workshops to providing technical assistance at academic competitions. One of her most notable contributions was successfully preparing community partners and educators to teach a programming component of MESA’s annual engineering design challenge for students. Stephens has also dedicated numerous evenings and weekends to running workshops for students and parents on STEM-field career development. Her contributions have impacted over 1200 students, 150 teachers, and 250 principals throughout the years.

The Fitzner-Eberhardt award honors PNNL staff members who have made significant contributions to science and engineering education by supporting students and teachers through mentoring, career guidance, curriculum development, extracurricular activities, and community outreach.

You can learn more about this story here.


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