Lisa Bagley, an AP Environmental Science and computer science teacher at West Mesquite High School, has been selected among thousands of eligible teachers as a 2020 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient. Bagley will receive a prize package valued at more than $50,000 for West Mesquite High – which includes $25,000 for the school and an additional $25,000 in school supplies, including Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablets, classroom essentials from AmazonBasics, and additional items from Amazon Essentials. Bagley also received one full year of Amazon Music Unlimited and a 12-month Audible.com Gold Gift Membership.
"The Amazon Future Engineer program has made an enormous positive impact on the computer science and robotics programs at West Mesquite High School,” said Bagley. “I am incredibly thankful to have the ability to deepen that impact through this award! The award will allow us to purchase the technology we need for our scholars, facilitate training for our computer science and engineering teachers, and strengthen the STEM pipeline from our feeder middle schools so that our West Mesquite students have every opportunity to showcase their excellence!"
Bagley learned of the honor when Jeff Wilke, CEO, Amazon Worldwide Consumer, made the surprise announcement during a staff video conference call. She also received an Amazon box filled with Amazon Future Engineer swag.
“Teachers are beloved in communities across the country, and we are excited to celebrate their hard work, passion, and commitment to their students’ future success,” said Wilke. “Computer science skills will be of vital importance as we take on and solve the challenges of the future. We are thrilled to honor these teachers, who work with students in underserved and underrepresented communities and promote diversity and inclusion in their classrooms and beyond, with our first Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards.”
Award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included 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. Scholarship America reviewed applicants and selected the award recipients. Amazon awarded ten teachers from across the country with this inaugural Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award.
“We could not be more excited for Ms. Bagley and for the students in her program,” said Karen Morris, Principal of West Mesquite High School. “Both computer science and robotics are new to our campus, but she has already done so much to grow the programs and build momentum towards success. Ms. Bagley is a fearless and determined teacher who will stop at nothing to create amazing opportunities for her students. This amazing contribution from Amazon could not have landed in more capable and ambitious hands.”
“Congratulations to Lisa Bagley from West Mesquite High School on being named one of the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year award recipients,” said Representative Toni Rose. “This is an amazing accomplishment for you, your students and your school community. Thank you for the incredibly important work you do to ensure our students here in Mesquite have access to a high-quality computer science and robotics education. The skills you are teaching – computational thinking, problem solving and teamwork – will benefit our students in the classroom, and beyond.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this year, there are 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, is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try 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. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.
In Texas, more than 180 high schools are part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. Amazon Future Engineer is also supporting students of all ages amid the COVID-19 pandemic with free, online curriculum.