Markham teacher wins $30,000 prize to help STEM students

A teacher from Prairie-Hills Junior High School in Markham has been named "Teacher of the Year" and has won a $30,000 prize.

Sheena Birgans-Wright, an 8th-grade computer science teacher, is one of the 10 recipients of the "Amazon Future Engineer" award across the U.S.

Of the prize, $25,000 will go to expand computer science and robotics education at the school. The other $5,000 is hers to keep.

"It was a total shock to learn that I was an Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year," Birgans-Wright said in a statement. "I just want to thank Amazon for caring enough to invest in our students. Closing the diversity gap in computer science is so important and Amazon is doing its part to make that happen."

Birgans-Wright has been teaching for 17 years. For the last five, she's been teaching STEM at Prairie-Hills Junior High School.

"Amazon Future Engineer" is a childhood-to-career computer science education program designed to inspire and educate students in the U.S. and globally each year.

The award recipients were chosen based on multiple criteria, such as commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in computer science education, personal stories about their school and students, and school administrator recommendations.