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GCPS teacher named STEM award winner

January 12, 2023

     Melissa Barth, a Harbins Elementary School teacher, has been named a 2023 Don Cargill STEM Scholars recipient. TheMelissa Barth award, sponsored by the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers (GYSTC), recognizes educators for their thoughtful engagement with students, and creating imaginative classroom lessons that teach and support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

     Mrs. Barth, one of only 23 educators from around the state and the only educator from Gwinnett County selected to receive the award, says the recognition is humbling. “I am honored to be selected for the award,” Mrs. Barth shares. “I am proud to represent not only my local school but represent Gwinnett County Public Schools. I am truly blessed and thankful for my colleagues throughout my career that have helped me grow in the area of STEM education instruction and support the vision and mission of Gwinnett County Public Schools.”   

     The GYSTC is a private, not-for-profit educational organization. Its mission is to increase interest in and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as subjects for serious study, particularly among elementary and middle school teachers, students, and parents in typically underserved areas in Georgia. Mrs. Barth says she’s passionate about STEM because it engages students. “STEM allows each and every student to show their strengths and creativity in multiple ways,” Barth says. “STEM education is an all-encompassing way to integrate multiple subjects to teach content. It allows my students to think outside the box of a normal classroom and students are given the ability to think about and solve real world problems. Our students are our future, and they need to start thinking now about how to solve these problems. I want my students to think globally and act locally.” 

     The award recipients were selected because of their aptitude for identifying unique strengths and potential in their students; conceiving and executing classroom lessons that tap that promise, engaging their students’ capacity to learn and build confidence – not only in their ability to master STEM but to master lessons of successful living. In addition, each recipient launched student-based projects which had an impact that reached past the classroom. These projects involve their entire school, community, parents, colleagues, and regional leaders who are STEM professionals and supporters.