SOURCE: Arizona Technology Council

Arizona Technology Council

Arizona Technology Council

August 24, 2011 17:38 ET

Winners of 2011 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Future Innovators and Teacher of the Year Awards Announced by Arizona Technology Council

Birgit Musheno of Desert Vista High School, Phoenix Named as Teacher of the Year; Two Tucson and Two Phoenix Students Receive $1,000 Future Innovator Award Scholarships

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - Aug 24, 2011) - The Arizona Technology Council in partnership with the Arizona Commerce Authority today announced the 2011 Governor's Celebration of Innovation (GCOI) "Future Innovators" and "Teacher of the Year" award winners and honorable mentions. These awards recognize the "Best of the Best" of the Arizona Science and Engineer Fairs and the Arizona Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (grades 9-12) for the 2010-11 school year. The winning teacher will receive a $1,000 cash award and each of the winning students will receive a $1,000 scholarship to further enhance their education, at the annual GCOI event on November 17, 2011 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Tickets for the prestigious awards gala can be purchased online at

"Arizona has contributed immensely to global technological progress and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is critical to our ongoing success," said Steven G. Zylstra, president and CEO of the Arizona Technology Council. "In order to ensure the state's continued leadership, it is important to support and recognize our teachers and future innovators by showcasing their experiences in the classroom and their extraordinary accomplishments."

The "Future Innovators" and "Teacher of the Year" award winners were selected by a committee independent of the Council including members of the Arizona Council of Engineering and Scientific Associations (ACESA). ACESA supports, promotes and coordinates programs and activities of the engineering and science associations within the state of Arizona through facilitated communication and leadership.

The winners in their respective categories are:

Teacher of the Year Award Winner:

  • Birgit Musheno, Desert Vista High School, Phoenix, AZ. Courses presently teaching: sophomore Honors Biology, junior/senior Biotechnology, senior Honors Biotechnology, and volunteers to teach Advanced Studies/Independent Research in Science.

    Musheno was selected for this honor in recognition of her devotion to STEM initiatives. In addition to preparing her students for STEM competitions and assisting them with travel to and from the events, Musheno presents a classroom management workshop, runs a monthly support group for newly hired teachers and presents various workshops for all STEM teachers. In addition, Musheno developed a two-year biotechnology program for Desert Vista, giving the students the opportunity to experience successful work in a research lab.

    Musheno graduated from Arizona State University (ASU) summa cum laude with a Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Education/Biology, and also holds a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU. She's published articles on science education in both The Science Teacher and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. In 2008, Musheno received the Distinguished Educator Award from the Flinn Foundation, and in 2006, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

Teacher of the Year Award Honorable Mentions:

  • Paul J. McElligott, PhD, Fountain Hills High School, Fountain Hills, AZ
  • Sandra Trevino, Buena High School, Sierra Vista, AZ

Future Innovators of the Year Award Winners:

  • Aakash Jain, Brophy College Preparatory High School, Phoenix, AZ, Project: "In Vitro Study of Bacteriostatic Activity of Allium sativum and its Synergetic Effects on Levofloxacin Against Escherichia coli."
  • Francisco Orozco, Tucson Magnet High School, Tucson, AZ, Project: "Plant symbiotic microfungi as novel sources of cellulase and ligninase enzymes for biofuel production: a two-year study."
  • Cory Owan, Catalina Foothills High School, Tucson, AZ, Project: "Paravolic, Hazard-Limited, Collapsing Solar Stirling Insolation Collector."
  • Rajet Vasta, Brophy College Preparatory High School, Phoenix, AZ, Project: "The Effects of Carbon Dioxide Pressure and Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium Mass Concentration on the Biofuel Synthesis of Nannochloropsis oculata, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Dunaliella salina, and Haematococcus pluvialis."

Future Innovators of the Year Award Honorable Mentions:

  • Colby Howell, Hamilton High School, Chandler, AZ, Project: "The Effect of Sublethal Doses of Oxalic Acid on the Lifespan of Honey Bees."
  • Soumya C. Kambhampati, McClintock High School, Tempe, AZ, Project: "Do SAT Problems Have Boiling Points?"

About the Arizona Technology Council
The Arizona Technology Council is Arizona's premier trade association for science and technology companies. Recognized as having a diverse professional business community, Council members work towards furthering the advancement of technology in Arizona through leadership, education, legislation and social action. The Arizona Technology Council offers numerous events, educational forums and business conferences that bring together leaders, managers, employees and visionaries to make an impact on the technology industry. These interactions contribute to the Council's culture of growing member businesses and transforming technology in Arizona. To become a member or to learn more about the Arizona Technology Council, please visit

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