STA Director Earns Prestigious STEM Award

July 17, 2023

This morning, Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg, STA Director of STEAM* Projects and Education, received the prestigious WiSTEMM Educator STEMMy Award in recognition of her achievements in STEM/STEAM education. Kerry Gentry from the Central Exchange presented the award to Sonnenberg in a celebration on the STA campus. The WiSTEMM Educator Award is among a group of STEMMy awards that recognize influential women for their contributions to women in STEMM (STEM + Medicine) fields. Currently, women account for less than 30% of professionals in these fields.

Sonnenberg’s work in the STEM/STEAM program at St. Teresa’s Academy is notable.  Since joining the Academy in 2020, she has significantly increased participation in STA’s STEM/STEAM Certificate program, particularly among Black students. Black and Hispanic workers remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce compared with their share of all workers.

Last year, the University of Missouri-Kansas City recognized STA with the STEM Outreach Partner of the Year award for the outstanding work it is doing to encourage young women to participate in STEM learning, of which Sonnenberg has played a significant role. In addition to her work with STA, Sonnenberg is an adjunct professor at Rockhurst University where she teaches Design Thinking. She co-authored the book, Unleashing Creative Genius and is co-founder of STEAM Studio.

STA was the second all-girls’ high school in the U.S. and the second school in the Kansas/Missouri bi-state area to earn AdvancED Certification for Excellence in STEM education. This achievement is a mark of distinction and excellence offered only to highly effective institutions that recognize STEM education as a path to success. In addition, STA launched a STEM/STEAM Certificate program in the fall of  2016. The STEM/STEAM Certificate acknowledges students for their achievements and involvement in STEAM related activities. This is a multi-year effort that focuses on several academic subject areas and community learning. The program is designed to provide preparation and opportunities related to STEM/STEAM fields in and beyond the typical classroom day.

*Science, Technology, Education, creAtivity and Math



(l. to r.) Dr. Mandi Sonnenberg, STA Director of STEAM Projects and Education; Dr. Siabhan May-Washington, STA President; Kerry Gentry, Central Exchange; Barbara McCormick, STA Principal of Academic Affairs; Dr. Liz Baker, STA Principal of Student Affairs