The Seagate Excellence in Science Mentoring Award recognizes outstanding science teachers from around the state who find creative ways to nurture students’ interest in scientific research and discovery. Two awards are given, one for teachers with 1-10 years experience and one for teachers with more than 10 years experience.
The award acknowledges teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom to promote science education in their school and who encourage students to engage in hands-on projects and experiences outside the classroom.
Shay Motalebi has been teaching at New Life Academy for 10 years. She currently teaches Engineering Fundamentals and Renewable Energy Engineering. In addition, she is the STEAM coordinator for the 15% Innovation Portfolio (15% IP) program working with the entire science department. Students in grades 6-12 build a solid foundation in STEM/STEAM integration through hands-on, long-term, student-driven 15% Innovation projects. Students are inspired to connect their academic learning to real world applications, think critically in identifying personal or global needs, and design testable solutions. Students initiate and lead projects through scientific inquiry, engineering design, or coding.
Many of the 15% IP projects are featured at the annual STEAM Fair at New Life, where students have the opportunity to interact with professional judges from local businesses and receive awards. Each student graduates with a portfolio that demonstrates effort and growth in innovating thinking throughout their education at New Life Academy.