NEW ORLEANS – Christopher Hatten, a 5th-8th grade STEM/Makerspace teacher at KIPP Central City Academy, has been selected among thousands of eligible teachers as a 2021 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient. Hatten will receive a prize package valued at more than $30,000, which includes $25,000 to expand computer science and robotics education at his school and a $5,000 teacher cash award. KIPP Central City Academy plans to use the prize to update their media center, Makerspace classroom and other school needs.
Hatten learned of the honor when his colleagues surprised him recently with an Amazon box filled with Amazon Future Engineer swag.
“I am honored and delighted to receive this award,” Hatten said. “The efforts of our amazing staff, the rigorous work ethic of our KIPPsters, and the overall innovation of our Makerspace class make this award possible for our school.”
“We are so proud of Mr. Hatten!” exclaimed Lauren Hammond, KIPP Central City Academy School Leader. “He works tirelessly to provide an extraordinary STEM classroom for our scholars. I couldn’t think of a single person more deserving of this award.”
“It has been an especially difficult year for teachers, so we are excited to recognize their hard work and commitment to their students’ success,” said Victor Reinoso, Global Director, Amazon Future Engineer, Amazon in the Community. “The Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipients work diligently to help students in underserved and underrepresented communities build life-changing skills to propel their futures in computer science. We celebrate their tireless efforts to increase access to technology and computer literacy in their classrooms and beyond.”
Hatten is one of 10 teachers across the country who received the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award. Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including 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.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the market for computer science professionals will grow 11% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations and, as of May 2020, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations. 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 underrepresented communities. Students from underserved and underrepresented communities are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career computer science education program intended to inspire and educate millions of students globally, including hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S. each year. Students explore computer science through school curriculum and project based learning using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. Amazon Future Engineer also awards 100 students each year with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon, and celebrates teachers with professional development and $25,000 Teacher of the Year Awards. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s commitment to STEM and computer science education. This year, Amazon has a goal to reach 1.6 million students from underrepresented communities globally through Amazon Future Engineer with real-world-inspired virtual and hands-on computer science project learning. The program is currently available in the U.S., UK, France, and Canada.