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Joann Blumenfeld

Managing Director, Raleigh, NC Chapter

Joann Blumenfeld is a 20-year Wake County Public School System veteran teacher of K-12 special education, middle and high school science and middle school language arts. Because of her passion to help those who are typically underserved, over 95% of her students were from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, low-income and had disabilities.

Blumenfeld has written curriculum and presented at many conferences to help her fellow educators help their students. She has published many articles about her program and advocates for changes to support students with disabilities in STEM. She is the founder and program director of Catalyst, a free national, award-winning high school program designed to create STEM opportunities for students with disabilities, located at the Science House at NC State University. Catalyst provides STEM Content and Skills, Workforce and College Readiness Skills and Advocacy. The yearlong program and sometimes multi-year program include a Summer Session. Saturday Sessions, Life 101 Skills, Paid STEM Internship and a Field Studies Trip. Catalyst has won many National Awards, but the biggest reward is the participants are doing well in College in STEM Educational Pathways. Blumenfeld also serves as program director of a second program, A National Science Foundation Grant, Connecting Students with Autism to Geographic Information Systems and Technology (GIST), which introduces ninth and tenth grade students to the growing field of drone piloting and basic ArcGIS and students can become certified Drone Piliots.

Blumenfeld has been a Kenan Fellow, a NASA Educator Ambassador, a North Carolina Science Leadership Fellow, a National Science Teachers Association Beginning Teachers Dow Fellow, a World View Global Music Fellow and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. In 2022, she was selected by Time magazine as an Innovative Teacher, the Friday Medal Friday Medal and has received other educator awards including The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Award, the North Carolina Council for Exceptional Children’s Teacher of Excellence award, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s 2018 Wake County Educator of Excellence Award and the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research’s Distinguished Teaching Award in STEM Education at the 2016 Bridging the Gap conference. She is passionate about building a Diverse, Inclusive and Innovative STEM Workforce.

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