Electrical Connection salutes students excelling in STEM subjects

SALUTING STEM EXCELLENCE: The Electrical Connection and the St. Charles County Economic Development Council saluted 18 students who have excelled in STEM subjects at the 12th Annual STEM Celebration Breakfast on March 5 in St. Charles. Here, Madyson Bamvakais, (center) a student at the Lewis and Clark Career Center, is honored by Electrical Connection Executive Vice President Jim Curran (right) and Wentzville School District Superintendent Dr. Curtis Cain (left). – Compass Communications photo

St. Charles, MO – The Electrical Connection joined the St. Charles County Economic Development Council (EDC) recently honoring high school students who have excelled in STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math. 

A total of 18 St. Charles County students were saluted at the 12th Annual STEM Celebration Breakfast March 5 at the Foundry Arts Centre in St. Charles. The event was presented by the St. Charles County EDC and sponsored by the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“In an era when technology is relentlessly advancing, it is an honor to salute the best and brightest students who will be shaping our future,” said Jim Curran, Electrical Connection executive vice president. “These students inspire hope for a better world where the next generation of innovation can create a better and healthier life for all.” 

As an example of the importance of STEM subjects, Curran noted that Electrical Connection partnership is working to expand the network of electric vehicle charging stations to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

“This technology doesn’t happen without STEM education,” he said. “It is the foundation of everything that is taught at the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center.”

IBEW and NECA invest more than $3 million annually in training at the award-winning training center. For more than 75 years, it has produced more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any other education program in Missouri.

The five-year, 10,000-hour education program is industry-funded at no taxpayer expense. Its apprentices are instructed free of charge and earn a living while they learn the electrical trade.

One of the students honored, Madyson Bamvakais, who attends Lewis and Clark Career Center, is contemplating launching her career at the training center.

“The Electrical Connection has been solidly supporting the STEM Celebration Breakfast since it was initiated 12 years ago,” said St. Charles County EDC President and CEO Scott Drachnik. “As we have found in all of our partnerships with Electrical Connection, they are a steadfast resource in helping the St. Charles County EDC chart a path forward so our businesses and communities can thrive in the 21st Century.”

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, director of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, was the keynote speaker. Curran joined Dr. Curtis Cain, superintendent of the Wentzville School District, in presenting the STEM awards to students. Both serve on the St. Charles County EDC Education Committee.

The St. Charles County high school students honored at this year’s STEM breakfast include:

  • Allie Zottarella, Fort Zumwalt North.
  • Jack Jeep, Fort Zumwalt South.
  • Euncie Antwi, Fort Zumwalt East.
  • Allison Merz, Fort Zumwalt West.
  • Maanav Batra, Francis Howell.
  • Jackson Ford, Francis Howell Central.
  • Cate Hahn, Francis Howell North.
  • Adam Lotoszynski, St. Dominic.
  • Ally Willis, Timberland.
  • Lily Cattoor, Orchard Farm.
  • Ethan Dunsworth, Wentzville Holt.
  • Keegan Irizarry, St. Charles West.
  • Madyson Bamvakais, Lewis and Clark Career Center.
  • Austin Beckerdite, Liberty High.
  • Danial Thoenen, Christian High.
  • Ella Emerick, Lutheran High.
  • Zachary Roberts, St. Charles High.
  • Josh Guiot, Duchesne High.

The STEM breakfast is just one of several educational initiatives support by the Electrical Connection. Others include partnerships with the FIRST Robotics, the Saint Louis Science Center, Missouri Energy Initiative (MEI), and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

For more information on the Electrical Connection, visit electricalconnection.org.


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