Omaha – More than 500 people gathered Thursday, Jan. 19 at Aksarben Cinema for the Empowerment Network's Hidden Figures Red Carpet Event and STEM Awards Celebration. The event honored 12 African-American mentors and educators from Omaha-area programs and schools who are working to prepare young people for STEM careers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Among the honorees were two College of Education (COE) Teacher Education faculty members: Carol Mitchell, Ph.D. and Derrick Nero.
Emerita Professor Dr. Mitchell received a Legacy Award at the event for her 40-year career in science education. Recent work of Dr. Mitchell includes co-coordination of UNO’s EUREKA–STEM! Program—a month-long STEM-focused camp and leadership program for middle school girls served by Omaha’s Girls, Inc.
Nero, a K-12 engineering education instructor, received an Innovator’s Award for his creative curriculum and teaching methods.
Nero, a graduate of COE’s Teacher Academy Project in 2004, was inspired to pursue teaching as a second career through his volunteer work tutoring at-risk kids in math. His mission is to connect kids to STEM success through improving engineering instruction for educators and students.
Over 150 Omaha Public School students attended the movie and event. Willie Barney, president of the Empowerment Network, said of the event, “the goal of the night was not only to honor those receiving awards but to encourage African-American students to pursue careers in math and science.”
Other University of Nebraska professors and alumni were also honored at the event. Read more at omaha.com >
The Empowerment Network is a collaboration of over 500 participating organizations and businesses, and a diverse group of individuals including elected and appointed officials, business executives, non-profit leaders, pastors and ministers, educators, violence prevention specialists, neighborhood leaders, community development experts, and residents. Its mission is to transform the City of Omaha into a great city, thriving and prosperous, where all citizens are engaged and empowered and have full access to the incredible opportunities that are available.
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