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Shamrock Spotlight: STEM Director Mrs. Amy Ely

The George and Mary Turek Hall of Science is scheduled to finish construction in 2024. To better prepare Catholic Central for this giant leap forward in technology and educational tools is Amy Ely, Catholic Central’s new Director of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Ely comes to Catholic Central from a varied background in the scientific field before her career as a teacher. “When I worked at BISF Chemical Corporation, they put a huge stress on educational outreach, and I found I really enjoyed that aspect of the job. This was before I even had children,” she said. 

After leaving the workforce for six years to raise her two daughters, Ely began volunteering in their classrooms. From there, Ely soon felt drawn to teaching and returned to school for her Masters in Education from the University of Phoenix. Ely began teaching in 2013 in the Taylor School District as the district’s Elementary Technology Teacher, where she built a Tech Curriculum for grades K-5 in her first year. She then moved to the Riverview Community School District, where she has spent the last eight years building a STEM program now used by districts from across the state as a benchmark for their own curriculum. 

“I thought my career at Riverview would have to come to a close because I was getting married and moving an hour away, so I decided to diverge my interests and look elsewhere. Then CC contacted me about the school’s Director of STEM position, and it was an answer to my prayers,” said Ely. 

When asked about her vision for STEM education and the new George and Mary Turek Hall of Science, Ely spoke about the importance of infusing STEM into all aspects of learning at CC, not limited only to the new hall of science.

“STEM is not just an area; it is science, technology, engineering and math. Those are the fields that were determined that the United States has a dearth of in their secondary and higher education,” said Ely. “We want to really focus on this area so that our students have the best tools available to give them the highest possible chance of success when they leave us and move on to college.”

It is clear that there is a lot of buzz around the new 57,000 square feet addition on campus with construction drawing nearer to completion each day. “It is going to be a structure like you have never seen, and we are going to fill it with brilliance,” said Ely. “The facets that are going to be available in this space are second-to-none, even at a university level, ranging from our four meter Observa-Dome telescope to our Redbird Flight Simulator, eight dedicated science labs, innovation labs, augmented and virtual reality integrations, and our 130-seat 270 degree immersion theater, we are preparing CC students for jobs that aren’t even available yet.”

Outside of the classroom, Ely is never far from her interests. Last summer, she did a fellowship for a joint project between MIT and the University of Michigan in Neuroscience using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, in which she guided ten undergraduate students from all over the world in their pursuit of using neuroscience technology to develop better AI. She is also the Director for Camp Invention-Vanguard, a high-intensity summer STEM Camp sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the US Patent & Trademark Office. 

Ely is looking for CC alumni, parents, and community members who are just as passionate as she is about STEM education to share their knowledge and expertise with students. If you are interested in offering some of your time, talents, or treasures to CC’s STEM program, please contact aely@catholiccentral.net.

Watch the video below to learn more about Mrs. Ely and her vision for STEM at Catholic Central.

This article first appeared in Winter 2023 Aluminator, Vol. 72, No. 2, a Detroit Catholic Central Alumni Association publication.

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