Westfield graduate Samantha Fassnacht awarded 2017 STEM Technology Award at Indiana statehouse


By Noah Alatza

Recent Westfield High School graduate Samantha Fassnacht recently won top honors at the Indiana Statehouse for her continued work in the STEM Educational Initiative.

Samantha Fassnacht with Gov. Eric Holcomb and Supt. of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. (Submitted photo)

This was the first year for the Governor’s STEM Team awards, and four students were selected, one for each letter. Fassnacht received the ‘T’ Technology award. Gov.  Eric Holcomb and Supt. of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick were on hand for a ceremony in recognition of Fassnacht’s and the other students’ achievements. Holcomb launched the new program earlier this year. It is designed to showcase high school students’ achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Indiana is well known for its love of sports, but we must also be a state that uplifts its rock star students — especially in the STEM subjects that are fueling the innovation and entrepreneurship to build our economic future,” Holcomb stated in a press release sent to Current. “The Governor’s STEM Team will recognize our state’s best and brightest young people with an honor that elevates their status, just as our society does for its finest athletes.”

All submissions were examined by a panel of experts, including teachers, college and university professors and staff from the Indiana Dept. of Education and State Board of Education.

“It was an honor to receive this award from Gov. Holcomb and Supt. McCormick,  personally, in the governor’s office.” Fassnacht said. “Having the opportunity to discuss the future of STEM in Indiana with the governor was incredibly exciting.”

The panel evaluated the students’ “exemplary performance in one of the STEM subjects,” including work inside the classroom, extracurricular activities, research projects, leadership roles and community service.

Fassnacht said she applied for the award after seeing an announcement online.

“The opportunities that STEM fields offer are limitless.” Fassnacht said. “STEM plays such a large in role in today’s society, and these fields provide countless career options and ways to positively impact the world.”

The new initiative already adds to the state’s yearly Mr. and Ms. Math and Science awards. Each winning student received a $1,000 college scholarship and a letter jacket identifying them as members of the team.

Fassnacht also was recognized in late 2016 for receiving a perfect score on the ACT exam. She plans to study computer science at the University of Toronto in the fall.

For more, visit istemnetwork.org/category/indiana-stem-news/