Laurel Ridge named ‘STEM School of Excellence’

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STEM education

The quality of Laurel Ridge’s STEM education has been recognized by the ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association). Laurel Ridge is just one of six colleges/universities — and the only community college — to receive the School of Excellence distinction.

The college will officially receive the award, which comes with a banner and certificate to display, during the ITEEA’s annual conference March 6-9 in Memphis, Tenn.

“ITEEA’s STEM School of Excellence Award recognizes superior K-12 and post-secondary STEM programs from schools all around the world,” states an ITEEA letter announcing Laurel Ridge’s award. “These schools show outstanding commitment to providing a robust integrative experience through STEM programs. They are providing a meaningful STEM education experience for students and inspire others to learn effective best practices and instructional strategies to enhance their own programs.

“These schools serve as a model and inspiration to their communities. They are leaders in their region, province, or state as proponents of advancing STEM education for all.”

Dr. Craig Santicola, dean of the School of Professional Programs at Laurel Ridge, said faculty and administrators across the college have worked hard to create premier programs for students.

“Our faculty, like Melissa Stange, Beth Dodson, Sam Dillender and Liz Palffy, along with administrators, like Dean Ia Gomez, have not only put in countless hours to ensure a high-quality STEM education, but have also inspired students to think big and explore careers across the STEM fields,” said Dean Santicola. “The special part of this is that the recognition comes from other educators who recognized the hard work and dedication of our faculty and administrators in providing our students a world-class learning experience. 

“From our engineering or data analytics programs, to our new robotics and artificial intelligence offerings, Laurel Ridge is preparing students with a strong foundation and the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to succeed in jobs of the future.”

ITEEA ( is the professional organization for technology, innovation, design, and engineering educators. Its mission is to promote technological literacy for all by supporting the teaching of technology and promoting the professionalism of those engaged in these pursuits. ITEEA strengthens the profession through leadership, professional development, membership services, publications, and classroom activities.

Learn more about Laurel Ridge at



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