Even though 2020 has presented the world with challenge after challenge, educators across the country have stepped up to the plate to continue offering STEM education. Prior to the pandemic, Challenger Learning Centers were running hands-on educational missions with thousands of children and educating teachers along the way. Post-pandemic shutdown, they continued to find ways to inspire kids and open students’ eyes to the world of possibilities that STEM education provides.

This year, Challenger Center presented annual awards to educators and Centers during the 2020 virtual conference in August. The presentation opened with welcome remarks from Challenger Center Chairman Robert Curbeam, who noted that everyone would much rather celebrate these awards together in person, but we need to do our duty and distance as the world continues to battle the pandemic.

“Even though the pandemic is going on, it doesn’t diminish in any way, the things you have accomplished, or their importance,” said Mr. Curbeam.

After his remarks, the following awards were presented:

June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award

The 2020 June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award was presented to Breanna Ramirez, Pre-K Teacher at Jose Angel Cardenas Early Childhood Center in San Antonio. She was nominated by the Challenger Learning Center at the Scobee Education Center, San Antonio College.

“Breanna is pretty special. I’ve learned from her. She is magical, she really excites young people. Breanna, you’re my hero, as well as all of the educators out there,” said Scobee Rodgers during the award ceremony.

The Award, named in honor of Challenger Center Founding Chair June Scobee Rodgers, recognizes outstanding educators who value the importance of STEM education and demonstrate great enthusiasm in teaching STEM subjects.

Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in Education

The 2020 Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation in Education was presented to Challenger Learning Center of Alaska for their “Alaska Meets Bermuda Camp” STEM exchange program. Starting July 2019, Challenger Learning Center of Alaska has worked alongside the Bermuda Ministry of Education to conduct multiple summer STEM academies and fostered a cultural exchange between students in Alaska and Bermuda. Watch Dr. Pelton’s presentation of the award here.

In 2017, Dr. Joseph Pelton, a close friend to Arthur C. Clarke and a founding board member of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, worked with Challenger Center to establish the Arthur C. Clarke Innovation in Education Award to honor his late friend. The Award recognizes a Challenger Learning Center that implements a new innovative program or project that impacts students learning, supports teachers, or promotes creativity.

  • Most Student Missions
    • Challenger Learning Center at the Powerhouse Science Center Discovery Campus
    • Challenger Learning Center of Colorado
    • Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee
    • Challenger Learning Center of Woodstock
  • Most Teachers Trained
    • Challenger Learning Center of Colorado
    • Challenger Learning Center at the Discovery Museum
    • Challenger Learning Center of Tallahassee
    • Challenger Learning Center of Greater Rochester

Congratulations to all of the award winners and thank you for inspiring the next generation of explorers to reach for the stars!