Texas State University was named the 2020 recipient of the Phi Kappa Phi Excellence in Innovation Award, according to a recent press release. The $100,000 award, given every two years, recognizes Texas State for achievement in helping increase the interest in STEM careers for students in K-12 through their NASA Future Aerospace Engineers and Mathematicians Academy.
“Phi Kappa Phi is proud to recognize Texas State University for its highly innovative project in STEM education and bilingual community outreach,” said Phi Kappa Phi Executive Director Dr. Mary Todd. “The jury was impressed with the comprehensive nature of FAMA and its mission to underserved students, a fine example of the creative and groundbreaking programming our Excellence in Innovation Award was designed to honor and uplift.”
Founded in 1987, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Since 1932, Phi Kappa Phi has awarded fellowships and grants to members and students on its chapter campuses. Nearly $1 million is given out each year through programs recognizing hundreds of individuals. The Excellence in Innovation Award, first awarded in 2016, is the Society’s only award for institutions.
A hallmark program of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research at Texas State University, FAMA was established in 2013. The program provides integrated year-round STEM programming to economically disadvantaged and historically underrepresented student populations by engaging them in relevant STEM experiences with a focus on NASA.
Since launching, the FAMA project has expanded to included four main programs: STEM Saturday and Summer Camps, the NASA Backpack Program, Technology-Rich Environments and Experiences, and Bilingual Family Community Outreach. Through these initiatives, FAMA has served and enriched STEM experiences for more than 5,600 students.
Texas State, on behalf of its efforts through FAMA, was selected as the 2020 recipient of the Excellence in Innovation Award by a jury of emeritus university presidents during a two-part screening process. The pool of entries represented inventive, multifaceted projects at institutions across the United States. Each institution was assessed on its project’s ability to achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes to create systemic large-scale change.
“As a proud member of Phi Kappa Phi, it is a great honor to be chosen as the winner of the Excellence in Innovation Award,” said university President Denise Trauth. “We deeply value our NASA Future Aerospace Engineers and Mathematicians Academy as it advances STEM education and research. It is a great tribute to our hard-working faculty and staff that the Academy has gained this recognition.”
Submissions for the 2022 Excellence in Innovation Award will accepted in the fall of 2021. For more details and to view the finalist portfolios, visit www.phikappaphi.org/innovation.
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