2023 STEM Educator of the Year and SC AI-enabled Robot Named

Columbia, SC – May 19, 2023

SC Council on Competitiveness Awards 2023 SC STEM Educator of the Year and Names New Boston Dynamics AI-enabled Robot

May 19th Ceremony at Richland District Two’s R2i2 Student Innovation Center

Columbia, SC – SC Tech, an initiative of the SC Council on Competitiveness (“SC Competes”), in partnership with S²TEM Centers SC, The Citadel STEM Center, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and CS for SC is excited to award the winner of the 2023 SC STEM Educator of the Year Award to Brenda Bouldin, STEM Lab Teacher from Blue Ridge Elementary School. 

The award, given at a special ceremony at Richland District Two’s R2i2, honors Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) educators who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by providing an excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning, and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future. This year’s awards are sponsored by Comporium, Bojangles, and the SC Council on Competitiveness.

Ms. Bouldin’s STEM Educator of the Year Platform is “Adapting STEM Concepts & Outreach to reach students of all socioeconomic status and communicative, physical,  intellectual  abilities.” The judges were impressed with Ms. Bouldin’s innovative approach to introducing STEM to elementary students.

“The impact of STEM education on our developing workforce is becoming more and more evident.” Susie Shannon, President and CEO at the SC Council on Competitiveness noted, “Our May 19th event will highlight the innovation that results from a dedicated educator and inspired group of students.”   

This year’s five finalists, announced in April, include:

  • Brenda Bouldin – Blue Ridge Elementary School
  • Heather Mauldin – Green Sea Floyds Middle/High School
  • Dr. Marsha Neal – Phillip Simmons Middle School, Daniel Island School
  • Kayla Short – Fairforest Middle School 
  • Dr. Tim Swick – Sandlapper Elementary School

In addition to naming this year’s SC STEM Educator of the Year, SC Competes announced the name of its new Boston Dynamics robotic dog, model name “Spot.” Over the last several months, schools around the state have submitted names for “Spot.” Grayson Davis, 8th grader from Due West, SC’s Dixie High School, submitted the winning name – PAL, which stands for Palmetto Augmented Learner. Pal’s first stop on its 2023-2024 school visit tour will be at Dixie High School.

Following the announcement of winners, attendees toured the R2i2 Student Innovation Center, highlighting the work being led by 2022 SC STEM Educator of the Year, Kirstin Bullington. Over the past year, Ms. Bullington’s class has been building an electric vehicle, a timely focus area given the recent record E-mobility related company announcements in South Carolina and in the Midlands. 

“Through their passion and innovation, standout STEM teachers open up new worlds of possibilities for their students,” said Interim Superintendent Nancy Gregory. “We are honored to celebrate the work of the finalists and STEM educators everywhere.”


About The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness 

SC Competes is a business-led nonprofit organization committed to advancing the long-term economic competitiveness of our state, industries, and citizens. Our work is accomplished through actionable research on opportunities and threats to South Carolina’s competitiveness; support of industry clusters that provide South Carolina a competitive advantage; and education and workforce development initiatives that ensure all South Carolina’s citizens are equipped to compete in a global economy. We execute our work through partnerships, recognizing that our state’s economic success is secured through sustained collaboration among the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit www.sccompetes.org.

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