Dr. Crystal Ricks, Coordinator of Advanced Learning for Calvert County Public Schools (CCPS), has been selected as a Department of Defense (DoD) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Ambassador for the 2022-2023 school year. As an educator recognized with the DoD STEM Ambassador award, Dr. Ricks will partner with the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) to advance STEM outreach. This prestigious cohort of DoD STEM Ambassadors will collaborate, create, and curate resources to support STEM educators across the nation in implementing high-quality STEM learning for all students.
This recognition comes as no surprise as Dr. Ricks has obtained various grants that celebrate and recognize the unique and diverse needs of gifted learners while redefining how the district serves students in CCPS’ Gifted and Talented program. Under her leadership, the Gifted and Talented program became a recipient of the “STEAM to Stars” and the “This Girl STEAMS” grants that provided opportunities for girls to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math through hands-on projects, while working alongside STEAM professional women across the United States. Dr. Ricks was honored by Ellen P. Servetnick, Strategic Education Office Team Lead of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, for her coordination of the CCPS Artificial Intelligence Primer eBook Program and “This Girl STEAMs” initiative with The Women’s Initiative Network (WIN).
Most recently, Dr. Ricks secured $1.5 million in grant funding (with the potential of an additional $6 million) awarded by the Assistance for Arts Education (AAE) through a continued partnership with Dramatic Results®. Dramatic Results® is a California based nonprofit organization dedicated to designing and delivering educational programming using art, design, and culture as entryways into STEM. This grant provides opportunities for students that are identified for Gifted & Talented services in grades 6th– 8th while also providing professional development opportunities for educators through robust collaborative experiences with Calvert County Library and Bowie State University.
Dr. Crystal Ricks will receive $20,000 to serve as a DoD STEM Ambassador, receive funding for instructional materials and will contribute as a guest author for blog posts that will be featured on the DoD STEM website. She will be afforded the opportunity to present at national, state, and or local conferences to share DoD STEM resources. The DoD STEM Ambassador program is managed and facilitated by TGR Foundation: A Tiger Woods Charity. Each DoD partner will work with TGR Foundation and their selected STEM Ambassador throughout the program.