Photo:LeeAnne Nicholson LaBanz, David Nicholson, Kate Arrizza.jpg
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, in partnership with the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation, recognized local leadership and innovation in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math with the recent STEM Innovation Awards. The first annual event was held on-site at the Palm Beach Science Center and guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, dinner, music, unique science demonstrations and an awards ceremony to celebrate the honorees.
“I am grateful to our sponsors, the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation, PNC Bank and FPL for being STEM champions,” said Kate Arrizza, CEO of the Science Center. “My job is to open every mind to science, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work being done promoting STEM both at the Science Center and throughout our region, and that’s why it’s important to honor those who are inspiring others and setting examples to support STEM education. Each of the honorees are doing their part to increase STEM and Arts initiatives  and make STEM a national priority.”
The STEM Innovation Award winners in the six categories were:
Aerojet Rocketdyne: “Corporate Innovator” award – Aerojet Rocketdyne was recognized for their unique approach to business through the integration of creative ideas, enhancements, outreach, and concepts incorporating STEM into products and ideas that improve quality and/or operations.
Dr. Becky Mercer, Palm Beach State College: “Individual Leader” award– Dr. Mercer was recognized for demonstrating leadership in developing STEM teams, providing guidance and leading STEM events and programs. This award recognizes achievement in prominent strategic STEM initiatives, inspiring others to follow, and implementing methods to improve STEM education.
Brett Hannan, The Green School: “Business Visionary” award – The Green School was recognized for making extraordinary contributions to the creation, facilitation or continuation of a STEM program directly impacting early childhood education.
Scott Lehman, Crosspointe Elementary: “Educator/Collaborator” award – Scott Lehman was recognized for developing strategic partners that further STEM education and awareness to advance quality STEM education by creating and facilitating STEM programs.
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens: “STEAM/Arts Partner” award – Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens was recognized as being a champion for the inclusion of the arts in STEAM education. (STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – is a variation of STEM education that uses a variety of arts mediums to help teach STEM principles.)
Stiles-Nicholson Foundation: “Lifetime Achievement” award – Stiles-Nicholson Foundation was recognized for showing an extraordinary commitment to science, education, youth, and the Science Center’s mission throughout its history.
“Innovation has been the key to all of mankind’s progress since the beginning of time.” said Dr. David Nicholson, BSc., LLD, CFA, chairman and founder of the Stiles-Nicholson Foundation. “According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 10%. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. To compete in a global economy, STEM education and careers must be a local and national priority.”
Other sponsors of the STEM Innovation Awards event included the Palm Beach Post, RGF Environmental and Christina’s Catering.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.  Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium during Dinosaur Invasion is $17.95 for adults, $13.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and $15.95 for seniors aged 60 and older.  Science Center members and children under 3 are free.  Planetarium shows and mini golf are not included in general admission pricing. For more information, call 561-832-1988 or visit 
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