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February 24, 2022

SVSU, MiSTEM Recognize, Reward ‘STEM Stars’

Twenty K-12 teachers in six Michigan counties will see a boost to their STEM education budgets thanks to the STEM Center at Saginaw Valley State University and the MiSTEM Network – East Central Michigan Region.

The educators have been named “STEM Stars” in honor of their hard work, dedication and contributions to education in science, technology, engineering and math. They will be recognized at a STEM Educator Dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at SVSU. Melanie Kalmar, corporate vice president, chief information officer and chief digital officer at Dow will be the keynote speaker.

“These teachers have made incredible contributions to STEM education in their classrooms, schools and communities,” said Adrianne Cole, director of STEM@SVSU. “They deserve to be recognized not only for their innovative STEM programs, but also for their ability to meaningfully connect with their students in and outside of the classroom.”

Each recipient received a $250 award to benefit STEM education in his or her classroom or program, as well as a 3D-printed keepsake designed by Cardinal Solutions at SVSU and produced by the SVSU Independent Testing Laboratory. Award winners were selected from a pool more than 40 nominees. 

The 2022 STEM Stars represent schools in Arenac, Bay, Clare, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties. This is the third year SVSU and MiSTEM have recognized educators for their efforts. Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee. 

This year’s award recipients represented schools from six of the eight counties within the MiSTEM Network – East Central Michigan Region. The award recipients are:


  • Stephanie Baarck, teacher, St. Lorenz Lutheran School, Frankenmuth
  • Christine Brillhart, science teacher, Jefferson Middle School, Midland
  • Jennifer Courtright, 4th grade teacher and coach, Beal City Public Schools, Mt. Pleasant
  • Jodi Decuf, STEAM teacher, MacGregor Elementary, Bay City
  • Andy Frisch, science teacher, Farwell High School, Farwell
  • April Frost, science teacher, Farwell Middle School, Farwell
  • Jessica Good, STEM teacher, Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Bangor Township
  • Melissa Grunder, teacher/FIRST coordinator, Siebert Elementary School, Midland
  • Tim Hall, science and electronics teacher, Robotics Coach, Handy Middle School, Bay City
  • Deb Kanine, tech lab/computer teacher, Shepherd Public School
  • Jessi Koehler, STEM teacher, Freeland Learning Center and Freeland Elementary, Freeland
  • Dana Lockwood, business teacher, Hemlock High School, Hemlock
  • Ashley Morgan, chemistry teacher, Frankenmuth High School, Frankenmuth
  • Charlie Lalonde, math teacher, robotics coach, Western Middle School, Bay City
  • Daniel Seefeld, STEM and PE teacher, Larson Elementary, Harrison
  • Tracy Stoldt, math and science teacher, Au Gres-Sims Middle and High School, Au Gres
  • Lori Vacik, reading and science teacher, Robert B. Havens Elementary, Thomas Township
  • Randi Watchorn, science teacher, Marshall Greene Middle School, Birch Run
  • Kristi Weber, STEM teacher, Jessie Rouse Elementary and Arthur Eddy Academy, Saginaw
  • Gwen Windiate, science teacher, Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Bangor Township


The MiSTEM Network is funded through a statewide grant and promotes the impact of STEM on economic development and education in the state. The purpose of STEM@SVSU is to develop a STEM talent pipeline to meet the current and future needs of the Great Lakes Bay Region by providing professional development for STEM teachers, engaging STEM professionals to enhance STEM learning and increasing experiential learning for students at all grade levels. For more information about SVSU’s STEM program, visit or follow the program on Facebook and Instagram.