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February 23, 2023

Area educators honored as ‘STEM Stars’ 

SVSU and MiSTEM Network present award for 4th year  

group of men and women standing in two rows

Saginaw Valley State University and the MiSTEM Network – East Central Michigan Region have recognized 20 educators for their contributions to STEM education. The individuals, representing schools in seven Michigan counties, were honored as “STEM Stars” at a STEM teachers dinner hosted by SVSU on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Each honoree received a $250 award to enhance STEM education in their classroom or program. The award recipients also were presented with a 3-D printed STEM Stars keepsake that was designed by SVSU’s Cardinal Solutions and produced by the university’s independent testing laboratory 

“Our 2023 STEM Stars are caring, devoted educators who empower their students to become innovators and critical thinkers,” said Adrianne Cole, director of STEM at SVSU. “These teachers are dedicated leaders in their schools and communities, and I am honored to recognize them as exceptional role models for STEM education.” 

This is the fourth year SVSU and MiSTEM have recognized educators for their efforts. Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee.  

This year’s award recipients included teachers, administrators, chief science officer advisors, instructional and IT specialists, esports coaches, and FIRST® Robotics and FIRST® LEGO® League coaches. They represented schools from seven of the eight counties within the MiSTEM Network – East Central Michigan Region. The list of award recipients with portions of nominator comments follows.  

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. 


Editor’s note: Attached is an image of the STEM Star award that recipients will receive, designed by Cardinal Solutions at SVSU and produced by the SVSU Independent Testing Laboratory. 

2023 STEM Stars gathered for a group photo: Front row, left to right: Angel Raymond, Sheri Turner, Susan Doud, Laura Trombley, Nickie Clark, Kimberly Scott, Lisa McBride, Jessie Bassett. 

Back row, left to right: Darrin Mogg, Theresa Bomba, Heather Richards, Craig Blower, Jamie Slate, Kevin Beardsley, Ryan Stokoszynski, Jessi Koehler, Shelley Biver. 


Please see information below on each of the recipients. 

2023 STEM Stars, listed by county: 

Arenac County 

  • Kevin Beardsley, Science Olympiad coach for 6th-12th grade, Au Gres-Sims Middle/High School, Au Gres 

“From awesome cell projects, to volcanoes, to presentations on STEM related areas, Kevin has helped to build a STEM focus in the Au Gres-Sims School District. He has dedicated countless hours of after-school time to Science Olympiad along with many other extracurricular activities.” 

  • Ryan Stokoszynski, CTE agriscience, AP biology teacher for 9th-12th grade at Standish-Sterling High School, Standish 

“Mr. Stokoszynski has a greenhouse he maintains throughout the year. His students clone and grow various vegetables and flowers in winter and spring. In the fall and winter, they plant and grow mushrooms. Throughout the year he grows microgreens. The newest additions to the program are two Farmbots that the students have programmed to plant, water, and fertilize vegetables. Ryan Stokoszynski’s goal as an educator is engaging students with STEM activities.” 

Bay County 

  • Heather Richards, science teacher, science coach, CSO advisor, 7th-8th grade, Western Middle School, Auburn 

“Her enthusiasm and excitement for science and STEM is contagious. She is an exceptional teacher and a leader who holds students accountable but also makes it fun for them to learn.” 

  • Sheri Turner, science teacher, CSO advisor, 7th-8th grade, Christa McAuliffe Middle School, Bangor Township 

“When it comes to getting excited about hands-on science learning, Sheri is on top. Sheri goes above and beyond to set up (and clean up) activities and labs to make sure she has the most engaging lessons prepared for her students. Sheri has spent years getting excited about and doing what’s best for science learning in her classroom.” 

Clare County 

  • Darin Mogg, elementary teacher, LEGO® League coach, 2nd grade, Farwell Elementary School, Farwell 

“He does an amazing job of inspiring his students and encouraging them to think outside the box. Through Lego League, Mr. Mogg inspires kids to use STEM skills in a fun and engaging way. He inspires kids to try new things and to be creative.” 

  • Angel Raymond, science and STEM teacher, 6th grade, Farwell Middle School, Farwell 

“Angel is an awesome science teacher. She provides engaging lessons to her students through hands-on labs and technology. Angel has taken extra training to learn to integrate new technology and ideas into her classrooms. She promotes an inquiry-based learning environment, where wrong answers are not wrong, but a pathway to discover the concept being taught.” 

Gratiot County 

  • Jolene Aylor, preschool teacher, Luce Road Early Childhood Learning Center, Alma  

“She works magic in her classroom with all she does revolving around engineering, math, science, and technology. Her classroom features a makerspace where students are encouraged to use recycled and found materials to create and engineer whatever their brain can imagine.” 

  • Zach Baker, STEM teacher, 7th grade, Fulton Middle School, Middleton 

“He has engaged in professional learning to develop our STEM program fully; he has been willing to do this outside of his normal school day and alongside all his other obligations. In addition, he has brought programming and robots to our students, which is something they have not had experience with in the past.” 

Isabella County 

  • Ken Schafer, physics teacher, AP environmental science teacher, FIRST® Robotics coach, 10th-12th grade, Mt. Pleasant High School, Mt. Pleasant 

“Ken works tirelessly to improve the science department at MPHS through implementing new classes, working with new teachers, and being an active leader in the department. On top of this, last year Mr. Schafer has started a FIRST® Robotics team at MPHS including securing all funding, finding team mentors, and working countless hours with his team.” 

Midland County 

  • Susan Doud, mathematics teacher, engineering teacher, FIRST® Robotics mentor, AH Nickless Innovation Award coach, 6th-12th grade, Bullock Creek High School, Midland 

“As a math and engineering teacher at Bullock Creek High School, she works daily to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. She pushes students out of their comfort zones, encouraging them to explore new activities that inspire innovation and creativity.” 

  • Kim Scott, science teacher, K-8th grade, Saint Brigid Catholic School, Midland 

“Kim plans NGSS (next generation science standards) lessons for all students in kindergarten through eighth grades that fit with their homeroom teacher’s science curriculum but allow students to use the scientific method and engineering design to make real world connections of the concept.” 

Saginaw County 

  • Jessie Bassett, science teacher, CSO advisor, Science Olympiad coach, 6th-12th grade, Frankenmuth High School and E.F. Rittmueller Middle School, Frankenmuth  

“Mrs. Bassett coaches our Science Olympiad team and she oversees students in the CSO (chief science officer) program. She is engaging not only students in her Science Olympiad team, but also reaching out with fun and exciting school-wide activities.”  

  • Shelley Biver, science teacher, 6th-8th grade, Bethlehem Lutheran School, Saginaw 

“Mrs. Shelley Biver has brought her knowledge of the amazing STEMScopes curriculum to our school, and our students are loving it.  She stepped up this October when our 5th grade teacher left unexpectedly, and has added 5th grade to her daily science schedule, introducing them to STEMScopes and all of the hands-on activities that our middle school students are engaging in.” 

  • Craig Blower, Robotics coach, middle school principal, 6th-8th grade, Swan Valley Middle School, Saginaw 

“He has also given students the chance to try new things like coding which is like reading a foreign language. Craig has team meetings where they discuss various ways to build their robot, how to score points and how to be good sportsmen at their events. Robotics teaches many skills and Craig is doing a great job at the middle school building these skill sets within these students.”   

  • Theresa Bomba, STEAM specials teacher, K-4th grade, North Elementary School, Birch Run 

“Theresa is a hard-working, creative, STEAM teacher, who eagerly volunteered to develop a STEAM program a few years ago when North Elementary did not have one. She spends countless hours researching STEAM, curriculum and lesson ideas for our Kindergarten through Fourth grade students.” 

  • Nickie Clark, high school STEM and math teacher, 9th-12th grade, Freeland High School, Freeland  

Ms. Clark is a STEM Star in our district because of her pure love of teaching STEM concepts to students. Math is never popular with students, but she has a two-hour block class teaching math and physics synchronously, and the students love it. It is hands-on learning and engages the students to want to learn.” 

  • Jessi Koehler, STEM teacher, esports coach, young 5’s-6th grade, Freeland Learning Center and Freeland Elementary, Freeland 

“Jessi is an amazing STEM teacher and goes above and beyond for her students. She has lesson plans that are geared towards each grade level and are engaging and fun. She has started an esports club and team. She is always looking to add to our STEM program and providing families with opportunities for their children.” 

  • Lisa McBride, STEM teacher, K-6th grade, Chester Miller Elementary School, Saginaw  

“Her ability to connect with students and her talent at teaching simple concepts, as well as more advanced STEM, are both truly superior.” 

“She has done so much to enrich the lives of the students in our school. She challenges their minds to expand their world and sense of thinking. The students are genuinely excited to see what she has in store for them.”   

  • Jamie Slate, science teacher, computer science teacher, 9th-12th grade, Hemlock High School, Hemlock  

“Jamie Slate . . . brings enthusiasm and teaching excellence to every class that he is asked to teach. He is an inspiring and skilled physics, advanced physics, chemistry, astronomy, botany, and zoology teacher. Most recently Jamie has taken the lead in developing and delivering a computer science class to his high school students.” 

  • Laura Trombley, technology teacher, young 5’s-5th grade, Robert B. Havens Elementary School and Shields Elementary School, Saginaw 

“Laura goes above and beyond in her role as a technology teacher by leading after-school and before-school groups. She shares her knowledge of coding through robotics programs. She facilitated a FIRST® Lego Robotics Team for multiple years, meeting daily after school to ready students for the competition. She is currently teaching coding to 4th and 5th graders before school.”