Awards Recognize Teachers and Their Schools Inspiring Students in Underserved and Underrepresented Communities to Build Skills and Careers in Computer Science and Teachers With a Focus on Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Computer Science
Amazon announced the first-ever Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards to honor and recognize seven all-star teachers and their schools working diligently to help students in underserved and underrepresented communities build life-changing skills to propel their futures in computer science–with prize packages valued at more than $25,000. The more than 2,400 teachers participating in the Amazon Future Engineer Program at over 2,100 schools nationwide can be nominated or apply at AmazonFutureEngineer.com from February 13th to March 12th. Amazon Future Engineer inspires, educates, and prepares hundreds of thousands of students from underserved and underrepresented communities each year in the field of computer science. Amazon Future Engineer teachers are the champions of the program – focusing especially on promoting diversity and inclusion in their computer science classrooms and beyond.
Award recipients will be chosen based on a variety of criteria which includes their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator, and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. Seven award recipients will be chosen from across the country – two high school teachers in the Eastern U.S., two in the West, two in the Central region, and one Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grant teacher. Scholarship America will judge applications and select the award recipients.
“The more than 2,400 Amazon Future Engineer teachers go the extra mile to bring exciting and life-changing computer science education to their students. We are proud to be able to support the teachers’ mission and the hundreds of thousands of hard-working students across the country who benefit,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer, Amazon. “With this first round of awards, we are thrilled to recognize and celebrate these teachers as they make it possible for more students from a wide variety of backgrounds to have access to this increasingly important field.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small percentage from underserved backgrounds. Students from underserved backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
Amazon Future Engineer funds Introductory and Advanced Placement computer science courses in more than 2,000 high schools serving more than 100,000 students in underserved and underrepresented communities. Amazon’s funding also provides preparatory lessons, tutorials, professional development for teachers, fully sequenced and paced digital curriculum for students, and live online support every day of the week for both teachers and students. All educators and students participating in this program have access to a no-cost membership with AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students comprehensive resources for building skills in cloud technology. Students will receive content to learn about cloud computing and access to the AWS cloud for their coding projects.
The Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grant is currently in more than 150 schools, supporting thousands of students. This program provides a variety of elementary, middle, and high schools with robotics programming, which includes funding to launch FIRST robotics clubs along with teacher professional development, an additional $10,000 to expand access to computer science education at each school, which could include field trips, hardware, and technology upgrades, and access to a tour of an Amazon robotics fulfillment center.
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All Amazon Future Engineer teachers can apply to the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards starting on February 13th through March 12th at AmazonFutureEngineer.com. School principals, administrators, peers, and students can also nominate Amazon Future Engineer teachers, encouraging them to apply. Amazon will notify award recipients later this year. The schools of award recipients will each receive a prize package valued at over $25,000, which may include a variety of needed donations to their classrooms, STEM toys and activities, school upgrades and enhancements and more. They will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to re:MARS, Amazon’s AI event covering a diverse array of topics and themes related to Machine Learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space.
Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of young people to explore computer science; awards dozens of schools Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grants, provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience, and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students – for example, in 2019, Amazon Future Engineer sponsored a music-based coding remix competition with Georgia Tech on their EarSketch platform. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.
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