Aris Pangilinan was named Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor

A local teacher from Cardozo Education Campus (CHEC) in Columbia Heights was named an Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year, receiving a $30,000 prize – $25,000 for Cardozo and $5,000 for himself.

Aris Pangilinan – affectionately known as Mr. P – was selected from over 1,000 applicants and joins ten teachers from across the United States. The program recognizes educators for their dedication to supporting underserved and historically underrepresented communities, building skills in computer science and promoting diversity and inclusion in the field.

Winners were chosen based on their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from school administrators as well as personal stories related to their school and students.

“Amazon Future Engineer Program, THANK YOU for seeing us! Thank you for affirming the integrity of our work,” Mr. P said after learning of his award, which he was particularly excited about in terms of its impact on the furtherance of the students’ education.

“Thank you for valuing our commitment and dedication to teaching and learning AND thank you for giving Cardozo students $25,000, so they can access the innovative and ingenious field of computer science and robotics,” the award-winning teacher said in a statement.

Amazon Future Engineer is a childhood-to-career program created to prepare students globally for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and computer science. In its second year, the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year began as a way to further the program’s commitment to fostering the next generation of STEM practitioners by providing opportunities for educators and their learning institutions.

STEM and computer science careers are one of the fastest growing fields, however not everyone gets an accessible seat at the table.  The past two school years have been particularly challenging in the District and nationwide as students and educators alike adjust to virtual and hybrid learning due the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, virtual learning has emphasized issues in equity, as families and teachers grapple with access to Internet, computer or tablet devices and the tools necessary for students to be successful.

“Thanks to actions like yours, teaching and learning remain accessible, innovative, and equitable for ALL students even during the time of pandemic,” Pangilian said with excitement.

In addition to teacher recipients, Amazon Future Engineer also awards 100 students each year with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor