ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The City School District of Albany said Monday that Melissa Hirt is New York State’s recipient of the Margaret Ashida STEM Leadership Award for 2022. The award honors the memory of Margaret Ashida, who was known for creating change through her tireless efforts to foster connections between business and STEM educators, and recognizes STEM leaders who serve as similar role models in their communities.

Hirt teaches technology and engineering at Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School and just finished her 31st year teaching in the district. Her lesson plans in the 2021-2022 school year ranged from chemical reactions to robot programming, but all had one common theme: the hands-on assignments often engage even the most reluctant student, drawing them in by demonstrating the applicability of science and math to everyday life.

“I love to teach! My students often question why we are doing math (or science) in tech class and I think that it is important for young people to see the connections between subject areas. My class allows them to make these connections through hands-on real-world activities,” explains Hirt.

Hirt will be honored at a conference hosted by the New York State STEM Education Collaborative on July 24-26 at Alfred State College.

“Ms. Hirt’s unceasing advocacy in interdisciplinary STEM learning and career preparation is an essential part of our Myers building and Tech department teams,” said the district’s Secondary Supervisor for Science, Technology, and MS FACS, Amanda Powers. “Her collegial support and collaboration, instructional flexibility and innovation, positive and constructive leadership, and the thoughtful, passionate, organized way that she engages in her work have been exemplars to all of us in STEM education.”