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Two Kentucky Educators Recognized by National Science Board

Sheri McGuffin and Eric Wooldridge honored with Science and Society Award

The National Science Board has awarded AdvanceKentucky STEM Coordinator Sheri McGuffin and Somerset Community College Professor Eric Wooldridge with the Science and Society Award for their efforts to encourage people in Kentucky to enter the STEM workforce. The Science and Society Award honors individuals and groups that have made substantial contributions in the arts, media, education or training programs to increase public understanding and appreciation of science and engineering in the United States.

Sheri McGuffin and Eric Wooldridge pose for the camera
Sheri McGuffin and Eric Wooldridge

McGuffin and Wooldridge brought together AdvanceKentucky, an initiative of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) helping school districts across Kentucky increase enrollment and success in STEM classrooms, and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Somerset Community College. Together, they created high-impact, accessible additive manufacturing educational training programs that have reached over 5,000 students, 185 teachers, and 140 schools across the state.

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that AdvanceKentucky and partners like KCTCS are doing to develop a skilled workforce that can bolster Kentucky’s economy through technologies such as additive manufacturing,” said KSTC President Terry Samuel. “In particular, this honor recognizes Sheri’s dedication to ensuring all Kentucky students have the opportunity to excel in STEM fields.”

Additive manufacturing training is a relatively inexpensive process with a curriculum that uses generative AI and 3-D printing to create innovative designs. McGuffin and Wooldridge’s efforts have led to the creation of the nation’s first state-endorsed, high school additive manufacturing Career and Technical Education pathway, increased the knowledge base of Kentucky’s future STEM workforce, and helped support the state’s growing manufacturing industry.

Two students sit in front of computers. The student on the left uses his hands to gesture while explaining his design to Sheri, standing.
A student explains their design to Sheri McGuffin

For McGuffin, it was important to have an equity focus. “There is a lack of representation in certain STEM fields for women and underserved populations,” McGuffin said. “I remember feeling left out during my own upper-level courses in math and computer sciences. It's important to me to be that representation for young girls and inspire others to follow suit.”

Students and teachers who went through the program have partnered with local sma

Eric Wooldridge troubleshoots a 3-D printer while seated at a table surrounded by three men.
Eric Wooldridge troubleshoots a 3-D printer

ll businesses to produce innovative engineering and advanced manufacturing solutions, increasing local revenue streams, generating patents, and landing products with national retailers like Amazon. The effort has galvanized partnerships for educators and students with representatives from City Hall, regional hospitals, local law enforcement and small businesses.

“Our food, economy, and national defense all rely on STEM innovation,” Wooldridge said. “If we don’t out innovate and manufacture, our international status will drop.”

Wooldridge and McGuffin aim to train teachers in every school district and every high school in the state, identify more employers and industry partners for their program, and expand their model outside of Kentucky.

“Sheri and Eric are prime examples of the exceptional work taking place to strengthen Kentucky’s STEM talent,” said AdvanceKentucky Executive Director Anthony Mires. “We join in celebrating what they’ve achieved so far and look forward to the continued expansion of the additive manufacturing curriculum they’ve developed.”

McGuffin and Wooldridge are being recognized alongside the National Academy of Inventors. Dan Reed, Chair of the National Science Board, will present the award to the awardees on May 1, 2024, during the National Science Foundation’s Awards Gala at the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C.

“Our two awardees are dedicated to expanding STEM opportunities and fostering new innovations with both economical and societal benefits,” said Dario Gil, the Chair of the Board’s External Engagement Committee and Senior Vice President and Director of IBM research. “Their unique approaches not only help stimulate the innovation economy, but also make science and engineering more inclusive and diverse.”

Those interested in learning more about additive manufacturing training opportunities through AdvanceKentucky's Computer Science Initiatives can visit


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