FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Mashpee Middle-High School’s Amanda Hough was awarded The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Massachusetts STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) Teacher of the Year in a ceremony today at Mashpee Middle-High School, which received $5,000 to be used for STEM education. Hough will also serve for one year on the Governor’s STEM Council.
“It’s such an incredible honor and I am so humbled to receive this award,” Hough said. “Thank you to Robert Kraft, the Kraft family and to Raytheon for choosing to recognize STEM teachers in Massachusetts and for their support of STEM programs in Mashpee and beyond.”
Hough (pronounced How), who has a degree in marine biology and spent several years in research and development, eventually sought a teaching certificate. She began her classroom career at Plymouth South Middle School and now teaches technology and engineering to Mashpee students in grades 8-12. She also believes strongly in cross-age student teaching, a topic on which she hopes to write a book.
“My students are mentoring students at the KC Coombs School (grades K-2) and the Quashnet Elementary School (grades 3-6),” Hough said. “For example, my eighth grade students are mentoring second grade students in 3D design to create buildings in a global project with students in South Korea and Lowell, Mass. Some of my high school students are mentoring fifth graders in designing and building SeaPerch underwater ROVs. My high school technology, engineering and robotics students have put on a school-wide energy carnival for all students in grades 3-6 with their own student demonstrations. It’s so exciting to see how the student mentors impact the younger learners.”
Hough takes her teaching beyond her students to her peers. She presented at MassCue and the Massachusetts STEM Summit on cross-age student teaching, empowering students with global projects and engineering projects that connect to the blue economy. She also presented at the Inspired Learner Conference to provide professional development (PD) and has provided PD through the Cape Cod STEM Network.
Additionally, she is the Cape Cod regional leader for competitive VEX Robotics and Mashpee’s robotics coach. She began that program at Mashpee three years ago with four high school students. This year, the school district had a boys’ middle school team, a girls’ high school team and a co-ed high school team. Those teams compete at least six weekends per year and qualified for the 2018-2019 New England Robotics Championship in Worcester.
Hough also encourages girls and under-represented populations to think about STEM fields. “We have a STEMINIST group which provides opportunities for girls to explore STEM,” Hough said. “I took 20 girls to the MetroHacks Woman2, during which girls used html to create their own website for an anti-vaping campaign and took first place for first-time coders. I have found that many girls are interested in careers and activities that include an empathetic component and they like to show their knowledge and share what they have learned through the cross-age student teaching projects.
“I also bring in outside vendors to help motivate my students and promote STEM opportunities for under-represented student populations. I have partnered with the National Guard to bring their robotics trailer to our school. Students that have never been exposed to robotics build robots and then control them to complete an obstacle course with National Guard mentors,” she added.
Hough was a finalist for the Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year award in 2018.
The Hall’s executive director, Bryan Morry, congratulated Hough for being named The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Massachusetts 2019 STEM Teacher of the Year.
“Amanda is such an enthusiastic teacher and that rubs off on her students. She is so dedicated to creating opportunities for students across all grade levels even while teaching grades 8-12,” Morry said. “Selecting a winner from such an amazing group of nominated teachers is always a challenge, but the selection committee felt Amanda was deserving of this honor. One behalf of that committee, I want to congratulate her on this award.”
Hough was chosen from a group of five finalists. The other four teachers’ schools each received $1,000 for STEM education courtesy of Raytheon.
Those teachers are:
- Victoria (Tori) Cameron – East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School
- Rebecca Colo – Longsjo Middle School (Fitchburg)
- Jonathan LoPorto – Dearborn STEM Academy (Boston)
- Chakara Cardillo – Brockton High School
Morry thanked fellow selection committee members Allison Little and Keith Connors from the Department of Higher Education, Alexis Lian from the Executive Office of Education, Meto Raha from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and former Hall education coordinator Michelle McGlone for their work in selecting this year’s STEM Teacher of the Year.
“Each of these individuals has shown a tremendous commitment to honoring excellence in STEM education and recognizing and supporting some of the best educators in the state,” Morry said. “They commit a great deal of time and energy to this process, and we could not complete it without their efforts.”
ABOUT THE STEM TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM
The Hall launched the STEM Teacher of the Year program in October of 2012 when Robert Kraft announced the initiative at the Massachusetts STEM Summit held that year at Gillette Stadium. Hough is the seventh recipient of the award. Kelly Powers from the Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School was the inaugural winner in 2013. Other past winners include Doug Scott from Natick High School in 2014, Kerry Murphy from Oliver Ames High School in 2015, David Mangus from Brockton High School in 2016, Kathleen Malone from Derby Academy in Hingham in 2017, and Erin Cronin from Revere High School in 2018. The STEM Teacher of the Year award is part of The Hall’s education program, which offers students in grades 4-12 standards-based educational modules in a fun, entertaining setting. The Hall hosts more than 20,000 school field trip visitors annually.