Since 2017, Dr. Sankaranarayana Chandramohan, known as Dr. Chandra, has organized 13 STEM Saturdays, an initiative he started at Palm Beach State College to introduce students (pre-K-12) to STEM subjects through interactive exhibits and activities.
Last year, he went a step further and organized the first STEAM Fest, which involved several community partners and drew nearly 800 people from the community. It was such a huge success that he is spearheading it again on Nov. 16.
For these efforts and more, Chandramohan, a professor of anatomy physiology and microbiology on the Lake Worth campus, received a STEM Champion award from the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. It was presented during the 2019 STEM Innovation Awards ceremony Sept. 7 at the center.
The award recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the creation, facilitation or continuation of STEM programming directly impacting K-12 education. Other award categories are Corporate Visionary, Rising Star, Educator/Collaborator and STEAM/Arts Partner.
He was chosen from nearly 100 nominations in the category by a selection committee comprised of Science Center staff and business partners.
“Dr. Chandra was a clear front-runner in the most popular STEM awards category,” said Kate Arrizza, CEO of the Science Center who was part of the committee. “His multiple nominations highlighted the extensive work he does throughout our community as a result of his educational programs and volunteerism. “STEM Saturdays and STEAM Fest are only two examples of programs founded by Dr. Chandra at PBSC which have connected our local neighborhoods to hands-on learning, inspiring the next generation of young scientists and technologists.”
In addition to STEM Saturdays and STEAM Fest, Chandramohan has also helped organize PBSC Science Days and helped many students to attend STEM-related annual conferences.
He has also developed and helped students gain free access to electronic textbooks and open educational resources, created individual and group STEM study sessions in collaboration with the Student Learning Center, and plans to develop an alumni network of his former students working in STEM disciplines who can guide current students toward their professional goals.
Chandramohan also mentors STEM adjunct faculty, sharing job and professional development opportunities and helping them prepare for interviews.
This is not the first award Chandramohan has won from the Science Center. In 2017, he received the center’s Award of Excellence for Volunteer Service for hosting information/demonstration tables that complemented its exhibits with the help of his PBSC students, among other activities.
Chandramohan said he could not do all that he does without the continuing enthusiasm and support from his family members, PBSC student, staff and faculty volunteers, college administration and community presenters and participants, especially the DeFilippo and Reddy families.
For more on the STEM Innovation Awards, visit www.sfsciencecenter.org/STEM-Awards.