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Full ‘STEAM’ Ahead

Alumna earns state award for her teaching initiatives

With a statewide teaching award now on her resume, Tori Cameron, ’12, is forging ahead in her efforts to motivate a new generation of learners.

Cameron, who studied sociology at BSU, with a minor in psychology, was recently named the 2020 Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year, an initiative of the Patriots Hall of Fame and presented by Raytheon Technologies. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito honored Cameron at a virtual event, and she will now serve for a year on Gov. Charlie Baker’s STEM Council.

She praises her Bridgewater State University education for setting her on the right track.

“Bridgewater offered so many different experiences from community service to research,” she said. “It truly made me feel like leaving that school I was ready to take on the world.” 

And, that’s exactly what Cameron has done by inspiring her third- through sixth-grade students at East Bridgewater’s Gordon W. Mitchell School and fellow educators everywhere. 

Cameron teaches STEAM, which adds “art” to the traditional STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math. She also hosts the podcast STEAM Up the Classroom, and wrote the book Awesome Brain Games for Kids: STEAM Puzzles and Facts for Curious Minds.

In the classroom, Cameron exposes students to real-life projects and career paths as they learn problem-solving, communication and other skills employers value.

“At its core, I would love for students to feel excited about learning,” she said. “STEM careers are really all around us and the possibilities are truly endless with what they can do in their lives.”

She runs Mitchell School’s STEAM Lab, where one of the most popular projects has students design and build arcade games out of cardboard. Cameron often adds robots and other technology to lessons.

As a BSU student, Cameron recalls a project with Dr. Jodi Cohen, where she studied sex education curriculum in schools in the greater Lowell area. She shared her work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, an experience that gave her confidence presenting.

“Being a sociology major opens up your eyes to the world and what is out there,” the one-time resident assistant and orientation leader said. “It was such a great major. I really loved every minute of it.” 

Cameron praised many BSU mentors, including Drs. Walter Carroll, Jonathan White and Jenny Shanahan. She added that Professor White’s classes left her motivated and ready to take on whatever social justice topic students explored.

“He said ‘Find something you love and become an expert in it,’” Cameron recalled. “That’s how I feel about STEM and STEAM. I’ve found something I love and am striving to become an expert in it.”

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