Donaldson STEM Award

In conjunction with the 2019 Science Fusion event series, four students from around Minnesota will be formally recognized and awarded the Donaldson STEM Award. The award recognizes Minnesota high-school students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in or passion for a STEM discipline, either in the classroom or outside of school. Students are nominated for the award by teachers or mentors, and they are publicly recognized at one of the Science Museum’s four Science Fusion events.

All winners receive $500 and a one-year membership to the Science Museum of Minnesota and will attend the Science Fusion event for which they were nominated. Award ceremonies will take place at 11:45 a.m. on the Atrium Stage on level 3.

2019 Donaldson STEM Award Winners

Eva M.H. Langenbrunner

Eva LangenbrunnerRecognized on Saturday, January 12 at African Americans in Science

Eva, a senior at Saint Paul Center Senior High School, was nominated for the Donaldson STEM Award by school counselor Barbara Kurtz. Not only is Eva an academically-excellent student, but Ms. Kurtz also sees her as a well-rounded, ambitious, resilient, and motivated person who “is sincere in her drive to help others and has been a true role model for younger students.” In addition to her rigorous course load, Eva has participated in the Central High School Robotics team for all four years of high school. Through robotics, Ms. Kurtz says, Eva discovered a passion for tinkering in science, where she connects her love of biology and physics with engineering. She has also taken on a natural leadership role through the Robotics team, and she’s found a way to give back to her community by using the skills she’s cultivated in various volunteer projects, including at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Saint Paul Public Library’s Maker Camp, and the Science Museum of Minnesota. Last spring, Eva was selected for the 3M Step program, in which she was matched with a mentor scientist and learned about the company’s different departments and services. Eva is a National Honors Society member, a highly sought-after Teaching Assistant by her teachers, a three sport athlete, and a gymnastics coach for Community Education through the Saint Paul Public Schools.

After high school, Eva plans to study biomechanical engineering and orthopedic medicine. With her love of anatomy and her robotics background, she hopes to develop medical devices. She envisions herself being an innovator in the field, and she is highly motivated by the potential for helping others through her work.

Maria Lezama Cruz

Maria Lezama CruzRecognized on Saturday, January 19 at Latinx Americans in Science

Maria, a junior at Apple Valley Senior High School, was nominated for the Donaldson STEM Award by James Lynch, program manager for the E3 STEM program of which she is a member. According to Mr. Lynch, Maria has always loved science and has a passion for learning and a nearly insatiable sense of curiosity. She moved to Apple Valley early in her high school career, and she embraced her love of STEM to help her find her place in her new school, finishing her math and science credits by the end of her sophomore year. She has completed many STEM exploration activities and is working on developing an invention in the AVHS Fab Lab. She is also captain of the Science Olympiad team, a National Honor Society member, a member of the AVID leadership team, and a peer tutor and new student ambassador. She volunteers her time helping students at nearby Green Leaf Elementary, in addition to working two jobs and helping care for her younger brother with special needs.

Beyond high school, Maria hopes to attend college and study a STEM-related field. Her challenge? Deciding which field on which to focus her attention. She loves biology, chemistry, and physics.

Pery Afias

Pery AfiasRecognized on Saturday, January 26 at Native Americans in Science

Pery, a sophomore at Cloquet Senior High School, was nominated for the Donaldson STEM Award by his Science Research teacher, Dr. Cynthia Welsh. Dr. Welsh and Pery have been working together since Pery was in seventh grade. Over the years, Pery has won numerous awards for his science research projects, with topics ranging from crayfish eating preferences to the effects of road run-off on romaine lettuce plant growth. As a participant in the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair, Pery has presented his work to Science Museum visitors during past Science Fusion events. He is particularly interested in aquatic plant science. This year, he is studying the drainage ponds on middle school grounds, a project for which he is cultivating his programming and ArcGIS Online skills in order to write a program that will digitize photos of Lemna minor (duck weed) to evaluate plant health, as well as create a map that evaluates the water drainage in different ponds. He conducts his sophisticated research on top of his challenging academic and extracurricular schedule, which includes student council, pep band, soccer, and church choir. Plus, he gives back to his community as a volunteer mentor of middle school students. Pery also takes great pride in his Ojibwe heritage, participating in cultural events and attending after school culture and language classes. 

Pery is part of the Trio College preparatory program based out of the College of Saint Scholastica. He plans to do his post-secondary education at the Fond du Lac Tribal College, where he will earn an associate degree and an ArcGIS certificate. He hopes to become a landscape architect, specializing in ArcGIS mapping.

Isadora Domingo Mack

Isidora Domingo MackRecognized on Saturday, February 2 at Asian Americans in Science

Isadora, a senior at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, was nominated for the Donaldson STEM Award by her Robotics mentor, Crystal Huynh. Through the school’s Robotics team, Ms. Huynh has been a firsthand witness to Izzie’s enthusiasm for STEM, her leadership potential, and her commitment to sharing her knowledge. Izzie is a highly accomplished student and consistently seeks out ways to challenge herself and build a strong network of STEM mentors. A participant in FIRST Robotics since elementary school, Izzie is now the build/design captain of her FIRST Tech Challenge team, leading them to the World Championship for the past two years. She also mentors other Minneapolis FTC teams and organizes weekend workshops that build up the urban robotics community. She is passionate about providing access to STEM education to all socioeconomic backgrounds, working with her team and partnering with Minneapolis community centers to create free workshops that provide STEM pathways to underserved students. Izzie is also very involved at the Bakken Museum, where she has worked as a summer camp counselor, contributed her skills and ideas to exhibit development, and organized Teen Science Café events. In addition to her school and robotics accomplishments, Issie also plays soccer and piano and tutors neighborhood kids in math.

After high school, Izzie hopes to attend a college with a strong engineering program that combines theoretical knowledge and hands-on opportunities. She dreams of inventing life-saving medical devices or affordable renewable energy sources. She’d like to use her passion for STEM to help her community.

Past Donaldson STEM Award winners
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