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Brian Harrell, Piedmont Natural Gas’s First STEM Superstar

Monday, November 11, 2013 - 10:51am

A solid foundation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fosters critical thinking and will create our next generation of innovators. Piedmont Natural Gas has not only recognized this fact but has also shown a commitment to enhancing K-12 STEM education through its Community Enrichment Initiatives. One of the ways in which they are making a difference is by investing in teachers who are promoting excellence in these fields through their STEM Superstars program which acknowledges educators who have demonstrated a commitment to improving STEM education.

Brian Harrell has been a biology teacher at Stratford STEM Magnet High School for 10 years. In 2010, the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach (CSO) collaborated with Stratford STEM Magnet to create the Interdisciplinary Science and Research program, which is a four-year interdisciplinary, research-centered science elective pathway in the Academy of Science and Engineering. This class is co-taught by a science teacher/scientist pair with the goal of increasing students understanding of how science and scientific research affects their everyday lives through hands-on learning. Mr. Harrell, or Coach as he is affectionately called by his students, became the first science teacher to partner with the CSO.

On November 5, 2013, Coach Harrell was recognized as one of the first Piedmont Natural Gas STEM Superstars. He will receive a $350 prize package for him and his classroom, along with the chance to win STEM Superstar of the Year and $2500 package in May when all the 2013-14 school year STEM Superstars will be recognized at a Nashville Sound’s game. When asked how he felt about this distinction Coach Harrell stated, “I am honored to have been chosen for this award. I enjoy educating students and I want that enjoyment to be portrayed in my deliverance of a lesson. ”

A video featuring Coach Harrell’s award ceremony can be found at www.stemsuperstars.com.