Amazon awards Indianapolis computer science teacher Mark Snodgrass and his school, Southport High School, a prize package valued at over $50,000 for exemplar work with students.
Mark Snodgrass is one of ten award recipients chosen among thousands of eligible teachers from across the U.S., recognized for going above and beyond to inspire his students to build skills in computer science and to promote diversity and inclusion in the field.
Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science.
INDIANAPOLIS – June 16, 202 – Mark Snodgrass, an Engineering and Computer Science teacher at Southport High School, has been selected among thousands of eligible teachers as a 2020 recipient. Snodgrass will receive a prize package valued at more than $50,000 for Southport High – which includes $25,000 for the school and an additional $25,000 in school supplies, including Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablets, classroom essentials from AmazonBasics, and additional items from Amazon Essentials. Snodgrass also received one full year of Amazon Music Unlimited and a 12-month Audible.com Gold Gift Membership.
Snodgrass learned of the honor when an Amazon Future Engineer team member made the surprise announcement during a staff video conference call. He also received an Amazon box filled with Amazon Future Engineer swag.
“I am honored to receive such a prestigious award,” said Snodgrass. “I was speechless and excited when I was given the news. As the news sinks in, I am excited to help my students find their passions and build life-changing skills to propel their futures in computer science.”
“Mr. Snodgrass is a shining example of innovative instruction,” said Brian Knight, principal of Southport High. “He recognizes that education doesn’t happen only inside of the classroom. Instead, Mr. Snodgrass builds meaningful relationships with community partners who have vast resources that engage students and take their learning to the next level.”
An alumnus of the University of Indianapolis, Snodgrass has been a teacher for 18 years, serving Southport High for four of those years. He is committed to providing his students with new experiences and started a “Girls that Code” program to inspire more young women to pursue STEM careers. In his personal time, he wrote grants to bring Raspberry Pi – low-cost, credit-card–sized computers that plug into a computer monitor or TV – to his school. He encourages each student to join the FIRST Robotics team, no matter where their passions lie. Snodgrass proactively seeks creative programming to incorporate into his curriculum to elevate his students’ learning.
“Teachers are beloved in communities across the country, and we are excited to celebrate their hard work, passion, and commitment to their students’ future success,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO, Amazon Worldwide Consumer. “Computer science skills will be of vital importance as we take on and solve the challenges of the future. We are thrilled to honor these teachers, who work with students in underserved and underrepresented communities and promote diversity and inclusion in their classrooms and beyond, with our first Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Awards.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that this year, there are 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a small percentage from underserved backgrounds. Students from underserved backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
“A great education an always be traced back to great teachers, who not only inform but inspire,” said Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb. “I want to thank Mark for the critical work he does each day, investing in our future generations. We know
that computer science skills are in high demand for today’s jobs—and because of teachers like Mark, students will have the tools they need to reach their full potential.”
Award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. Scholarship America reviewed applicants and selected the award recipients. Amazon awarded ten teachers from across the country with this inaugural Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award.
Amazon Future Engineer, is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to try computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire hundreds of thousands of young people to explore computer science; awards dozens of schools Amazon Future Engineer Robotics Grants, provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships; as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience, and forms unique partnerships with trusted institutions to bring new coding experiences to students. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. In Indiana, more than 60 high schools are part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. Amazon Future Engineer is also supporting students of all ages amid the COVID-19 pandemic with free, online curriculum.
About Southport High School
Southport High School is part of the Perry Township Schools district, located on the southside of Indianapolis, Indiana. With 2,200+ students, the school’s mission is to serve its diverse community by developing independent thinkers who can excel in an ever-changing world. Southport High meets that mission by offering a variety of classes that include 26 AP and Dual Credit courses, STEM education through Project Lead the Way Computer Science and Engineering, and Blended Learning courses that prepare students for the college environment.
This news release was written in collaboration with Confidant.