Photo: Some 250 local girls enjoyed Girls in Aviation Day Long Beach during the WAI2023 conference at the Long Beach Convention Center. Credit: Andrew Zaback
Stacie Pierpoint, Senior Manager, Communications & Engagement
Grants totaling $250,000 presented to 15 nonprofit organizations in 12 countries
Washington, DC, October 17, 2023 – The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) and Pratt & Whitney today announced the winners of the second annual Pratt & Whitney E-STEM Awards. Satheeshkumar Kumarasingam, Pratt & Whitney’s chief transformation and strategy officer, and Judy Braus, NAAEE’s executive director, together awarded grants totaling $250,000 to 15 nonprofit organizations in 12 countries. Each organization demonstrated a remarkable commitment to advancing education programs focused on building science, technology, engineering, and math skills through environmental problem solving (E-STEM) for students ages 11–22.
A panel of judges from Pratt & Whitney and NAAEE selected the recipients from a pool of over 150 applicants spanning 40 countries. The winners—which include organizations from all major world regions—were announced at the NAAEE Annual Conference.
In addition to funding that organizations receive to expand or pursue their E-STEM education initiatives, all awardees join a cohort and receive year-round professional development and mentoring support. Past awardees have lauded the cohort experience as being foundational to their continued growth.
STEMie Advantages of Singapore, a 2022 E-STEM awardee, was recognized last year for a program designed to encourage kids to create STEM inventions to solve climate challenges. “Apart from helping us to manage the costs of running the lessons, this recognition has served as a powerful motivator for me and my team,” said Nancy Soon, executive director of STEMie Advantages.
“NAAEE is thrilled to join Pratt & Whitney in recognizing these outstanding nonprofits from around the world that are working to address environmental challenges facing their communities,” notes Judy Braus, executive director of NAAEE. “These innovative groups are demonstrating how education, along with creativity, hard work, and a host of STEM skills, can help create positive change. We look forward to working with the winning organizations and seeing what these young problem-solvers of the future can accomplish.”
This Year’s Winners
2023 Sustainable Aviation/Transportation awardee
A single Sustainable Aviation/Transportation award is granted to an organization focused on E-STEM solutions to aviation and transport.
- Women in Aviation International, United States ($10,000) – Women in Aviation International's Aviation for Girls program will add a special learning module on sustainable aviation science to its STEM education youth program. The module will include videos, webinars, and hands-on STEM activities during Girls in Aviation Day events.
2023 Global E-STEM Excellence Prize awardees
Global E-STEM Excellence Prize winners demonstrate excellence in established E-STEM education programs.
- Deniz Temiz Derneği, Turkey ($25,000) – Deniz Temiz Derneği strategically combines STEM and marine environmental literacy to raise awareness among youth to motivate and engage them to build a cleaner and safer future. Students and teachers, often from underrepresented communities, build problem-solving skills to develop innovative marine projects with roots in the principles of STEM.
- Europejska Fundacja Kosmiczna, Poland ($25,000) – Europejska Fundacja Kosmiczna organizes a series of interactive workshops and lectures to show how satellite data can help observe climate change and its effects. More than 5,500 students have participated in this project since 2021.
- Techbridge Girls, United States ($50,000) – Techbridge Girls trains educators to engage girls and non-binary youth in meaningful, real-world problem-solving using STEM so that they can gain the skills needed to help solve complex environmental issues. Their Earth Engineers program annually reaches thousands of girls who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC).
2023 Global E-STEM Innovation Grant awardees
Global E-STEM Innovation Grant winners put together promising proposals to launch new E-STEM programs.
- Associación Territorios Vivos, El Salvador ($5,000) – The project Little Seeds focuses on the conservation of forests in El Salvador. Students in “Little Seeds” workshops will learn to monitor the health of trees, identify invasive species, and more.
- BLAKE, New Zealand ($15,000) – BLAKE will develop a virtual reality lesson about climate change within their existing New Zealand Virtual Reality (NZVR) program. Over 10,000 students, including those from Māori and Pasifika Indigenous groups, will study how climate change impacts the ocean through this engaging program.
- FabLab Winam Foundation, Kenya ($10,000) – FabLab's new GreenKit program provides hands-on learning to inspire and empower girls to study green energy. The program will foster curiosity and promote sustainable practices through the exploration of green energy, IoT, AI, and digital fabrication technologies.
- Green Girls Platform, Malawi ($10,000) – Green Girls Platform’s proposed project aims to train 500 young people—primarily girls—aged 11–20 in three underserved communities in Lilongwe to use E-STEM for climate solutions. Young people will be trained on E-STEM's role in climate action, identify local environmental issues, and then develop tailored E-STEM solutions.
- Green Growth Asia Foundation, Malaysia ($15,000) – This program will engage students aged 10–17 from Indigenous Pos Kemar to improve water sanitation using sustainable practices. Workshops will focus on water-quality analysis and utilize water filtration technologies to engineer community-driven solutions.
- Nova Scotia Community College Foundation, Canada ($15,000) – The College’s Techsploration program will feature a new E-STEM component. More than 400 ninth-grade girls will attend a series of workshops to increase students’ environmental literacy, build STEM interest and skills, and create pathways to environmental careers.
- People Protecting the Environment Foundation, Thailand ($15,000) – This organization will bring together local youth and rice farmers to reimagine agriculture in Thailand. Students will learn about the sustainable agricultural practice of using microorganisms to break down rice stumps, instead of burning old crops. They will help encourage this practice with local farmers and implement the plan.
- Smart Cheli, Nepal ($10,000) – Smart Cheli provides young girls with mentors who share the technical and personal skills necessary to excel in STEM fields. They also show how STEM applies to real-world issues including environmental problems.
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), United States ($15,000) – SFI will design E-STEM lesson plan resources and educator professional development workshops for teachers in Maryland and Oklahoma. SFI will then expand reach outside the two states by leveraging their nationwide Project Learning Tree network to share these educator resources across the country.
- UNICON, Nepal ($15,000) – UNICON’s project combines workshops, hands-on activities, and partnerships to foster environmental stewardship, creativity, and inclusivity amongst Nepalese students, especially girls. Their goal is to nurture a new generation of eco-conscious leaders for a greener Nepal. Workshops will focus on the intersection of aviation, STEM, climate change, sustainable energy, and transportation.
- Webfala Digital Skills Initiative for All, Nigeria ($10,000) – Webfala’s proposed project is to provide innovative STEM and environmental literacy education programs and resources to 3,000 young students (aged 11–18 years) from 20 underserved schools in Kwara State, Nigeria. Webfala wants to inspire and empower students from marginalized communities to actively participate in the STEM and environmental fields.
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For five decades, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) has served as the professional association, champion, and backbone organization for the field of environmental education (EE), working with EE professionals across United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as globally, to advance environmental literacy and civic engagement to create a more equitable and sustainable future. For more information on NAAEE, visit https://naaee.org.