Announcing the Winners of the 2022 Labster STEM Excellence Awards

April Ondis

The educators we partner with inspire us every day. It's our honor and privilege to shine a spotlight on 10 who are having a uniquely powerful impact on their students and institutions.

Labster team members nominated each 2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award winner based on their outstanding performance across multiple criteria:

  • Encouraging scientific literacy

  • Promoting careers in science and technology

  • Supporting strategies that increase engagement and effective learning in STEM courses

  • Embracing evidence-based teaching strategies

  • Leading an institution forward in its use of technology to help more students achieve their goals

Please join us in celebrating each honoree for their transformative work to develop student-centered learning programs in the STEM field.

Perla-Atiyah-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Perla Atiyah, Associate Professor of Biology, American University of Bahrain

Dr. Perla Atiyah is also an accomplished researcher, consultant, and project manager, having worked with prestigious organizations such as the European Commission and the United Nations. Passionate about preserving the environment, she developed a sustainability-related curriculum for two universities and served as the department chair for the Department of Natural Science and Public Health at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. She has more than ten years of teaching experience and earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California (UCLA). Learn how Dr. Atiyah uses Labster to get non-science majors excited about biology.

Margaret-Brady-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Margaret Brady, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, North Dakota State College of Science

Margaret Brady teaches undergraduates about anatomy and physiology, biology, and zoology. Margaret received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2019 and 2022 from the North Dakota State College of Science for her dedication to her students and profession. She holds a Master of Science in Zoology from North Dakota State University and is currently completing additional graduate-level coursework in biology, microbiology, and genetics. When she’s not in the classroom, she’s running her horse farm or forestry project. See how Margaret went from being technology averse to a virtual lab enthusiast using Labster. Watch how Professor Brady uses Labster in the classroom here.

Alexia-Cormier-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Alexia Cormier, Instructional Development Specialist, STEM, University of Texas San Antonio

Alexia Cormier is an instructional designer specializing in creating virtual and hybrid STEM-related courses. She earned her M.A. in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Texas in San Antonio. Alexia is a member of the Texas Distance Learning Association (TxDLA) and was a speaker at the 2022 TxDLA virtual conference. She is currently collaborating on original research to understand the impact of Labster on STEM students. 

Lizette-Hernandez-Cardenas-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Lizette Susana Hernández Cárdenas, Professor of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Tecnológico de Monterrey

Dr. Lizette Susana Hernández Cárdenas currently teaches courses about cellular biology, chemical bases, and metabolism. In addition to being a professor, Dr. Hernández Cárdenas serves as the National Coordinator of Academic Communities. She also helped to design the curriculum of the Tec21 Educational Model. In recognition of her achievements, she received the Educational Innovation Award in 2010 and 2014 from Tecnológico de Monterrey. Dr. Hernández Cárdenas earned her post-graduate degree in the sciences, with a specialty in chemistry from the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Read how Dr. Hernandez Cardenas is pioneering the use of Labster in Latin America.

Eddy-van-Hunnik-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winners

Eddy van Hunnik, Instructor, Alamance Community College in Graham, North Carolina

Dr. Eddy van Hunnik is a full-time biotechnology and bioscience instructor. He designs courses and teaches lab techniques related to anatomy and physiology, microbiology, biotechnology, and genetics to both traditional and nontraditional students. Dr. van Hunnik earned his Doctorate in Biology from the University of Amsterdam. See how Dr. van Hunnik’s students gained confidence by using Labster.

Rukmani-Kuppuswami-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Rukmani Kuppuswami, Professor of Biology, Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas

Rukmani Kuppuswami holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry from Iowa State University. She has reviewed several biology textbooks and authored many professional works, including lab manuals and scholarly articles. Before becoming a biology professor, Rukmani worked in related roles such as biochemist, senior research technician, and lab technician.

Bruno-Poellhuber-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Bruno Poellhuber, Professor of Education and Director for the Center of Teaching and Learning, University of Montreal 

Dr. Bruno Poellhuber’s research and teaching specialties include distance learning and using technology for collaboration. Dr. Poellhuber studies what impacts student engagement and motivation as well as what factors need to be considered when designing new learning spaces. He is currently directing research about flipped classrooms and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Dr. Poellhuber earned his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Montreal. 

Matthias-Polte-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Matthias Polte, Biology Teacher, Ricarda-Huch-Gymnasium Krefeld (RHG Krefeld) in Germany

Matthias Polte helped bring Labster to a German high school. (But, first, the school needed to secure an internet connection!) Matthias uses data from Labster to better gauge student comprehension and tailor his instruction. He also helps train new teachers, which includes lessons on how to use the virtual lab platform. Learn how Labster helps Matthias spend more time mentoring his students.

Teshia-Young-Roby-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Teshia Young Roby, Assistant Vice President, Learning & Research Technologies, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona 

Dr. Teshia Young Roby currently works to implement educational solutions that promote active learning, group collaboration, and equity and inclusion in both in-person and virtual classrooms. In addition, Dr. Young Roby founded the HackHER Gals Cyber Security Outreach Initiative to help address gaps in representation in the STEM and cybersecurity fields. She has also secured many high-value grants to help students. Dr. Young Roby earned her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Instructional Design and Online Pedagogies from Georgia State University. 

Edgardo-Sanabria-Valentin-2022 Labster STEM Excellence Award Winner

Edgardo Sanabria-Valentín, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City

In addition to teaching biology courses, Dr. Edgardo Sanabria-Valentín is the Associate Director of PRISM (Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math), which provides mentorship, training, and encouragement to math and science students. Dr. Sanabria-Valentín is also the Research Coordinator for the Department of Sciences and has authored several scholarly works. He won the 2020 BRAVO! Employee Award for his contributions to the school. Dr. Sanabria-Valentín earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from New York University. 

Congratulations to each of the 2022 award winners. Thank you for all you do!

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