Teachers make the difference. It is a saying that rings true each and every day at Tulsa Tech. Our instructors tirelessly work to find new and creative ways to engage students. Creativity is one of the reasons Elaine Clark, an instructor at the STEM Academy, was honored with the 2020 Tex Richardson Engineering & Science Guidance Award.
The award, established in 1992 and named in honor of a longtime educator, recognizes teachers and engineers in Oklahoma who demonstrate exceptional service in guidance activities.
“Tex Richardson was a tireless and enthusiastic promoter of learning, especially in STEM-related fields,” Clark said. “To be given an award that recognizes educators who exemplify his same ideals is both humbling and highly rewarding.”
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are a critical part of Tulsa Tech’s mission to educate people for success in the workplace. Careers in STEM-related industries are growing at a nine percent rate according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is nearly double the rate of all other professions combined.
“I want my students to know that they can learn whatever it is I am teaching them,” Clark said with pride. “They are not in my class by mistake and they have what it takes to be successful in my class and other classes they may choose to take.”
Clark encourages students to take on new challenges like FIRST Robotics competitions, Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance camps, VEX Robotics, and many more activities. She is the second consecutive Tulsa Tech instructor to earn the award after Teddy Wyatt was honored last year.
Clark and Wyatt, along with 2013 winner, Maemi Dildy, have all helped thousands of future engineers succeed in the classroom and the workplace. The importance of STEM in classrooms across the nation is growing and Tulsa Tech is devoted to helping students become leaders in their field while meeting the needs of industry partners.
“To me, there is nothing more enjoyable than being in the classroom with my students,” Clark said with a smile. “They inspire me, invigorate me and give me hope for the future.”
The STEM Academy provides students the skills they need to enter into the highly-competitive engineering field. Students in Pre-Engineering learn how to design and build distinct creations using the latest software. Students also tackle real-world problems and present their cutting edge ideas to industry partners.
“The very best part of the academy would have to be the students,” Clark said. “They are bright and clever young people who are eager to learn and who thrive on the challenges of our hands-on, problem-solving environment.”