Local engineer recognized as 'Science Champion'

Corinne Beach, engineer at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF), was recently selected as a recipient of the 2013-2014 Science Champions: Science Education Advocate Awards presented by Washington State Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER), a program co-led by Pacific Science Center, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy).

Each year, with support from The Boeing Company, Washington State LASER recognizes up to five individuals, organizations and/or project teams for excellence in promoting science education among either the general public or the education system.

As K-12 STEM Outreach Coordinator at PSNS & IMF, Beach leads science, technology, engineering and math outreach for a community of more than 11,000 people in the West Sound. In this position, she is able to assist students and educators in not only learning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but also in understanding the principles well enough to apply them in novel situations. Beach believes teachers who have deeper science backgrounds are more confident about integrating science lessons into their curriculum and making it exciting.

That, in turn, boosts students’ confidence and makes them eager to use scientific methodology to innovate, create and discover. Beach works with school district representatives, principals, teachers and students to bring engineers and technicians from PSNS & IMF to participate and mentor many different hands-on science-related activities during the school day as well as after hours for K – 12 students and families.

Beach also coordinates and participates as a technical mentor in five programs including SeaPerch Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles in which students have the opportunity to construct underwater robots. Working in teams of two or three, students learn to construct vehicles and control them under water. Most of all, they learn to communicate and work together. Once their vehicles are built,students take them to the waters for a robot competition.

In the 2012-2013 school year more than 1,200 students participated in this program.

Beach was also instrumental in the establishment of the West Sound STEM Network. This grassroots effort links STEM resources to reduce duplication and to provide effective hands-on STEM projects for all local students. Beach unleashed the power of the West Sound STEM Network to organize the first West Sound STEM Showcase, a free event involving 50 interactive booths staffed by companies, non-profits, schools and government entities. More than 500 people attended to explore STEM principles and projects in a fun, hands-on, interactive way.

Beach has selected Olympic Educational Service District 114 to be the recipient of her $5,000 award provided by Boeing. This will support the work of the West Sound STEM Network.



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