Stamford Science Teacher Named ‘2020 Woman of Innovation’

Dougherty+with+Neil+deGrasse+Tyson+at+Manhattanville+College+in+Purchase%2C+N.Y.

Courtesy of Connecticut Technology Council

Dougherty with Neil deGrasse Tyson at Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.

Hannah Schager, Correspondent

Stamford High School science teacher Susan Doughtery has been honored with the 2020 Women of Innovation Award in the Secondary Academic Innovation and Leadership division by the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) earlier this month.

Dougherty is one of 12 Connecticut female educators who were recognized for their accomplishments in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) departments.

“It is great to be acknowledged” Dougherty says, the one out of 500 people chosen for the special award after a year of deliberation and many interviews. 

“This is getting Stamford’s foot in the door… we hope to nominate students in the future.” 

Dougherty has had 28 years of teaching experience in science and math, with subjects including chemistry, Earth and Space Science, and physics. Most recently, she has been utilizing NASA programs within and outside of her classroom with experimental learning, in order to further excite and engage her students about the enormous world of science. 

In the past year, Dougherty was able to bring an all-female team of Stamford seniors to compete in the prestigious NASA Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science, a competition where students design a robot to potentially be sent up into space by the International Space Station. Not only has she worked with NASA in their competitions, but also with the NASA Langley Research database, which – thanks to Dougherty – was available to SHS students in their ozone reading departments. 

This past summer Dougherty worked alongside the Office of Student Engagement at NASA, where she taught educators to stress the importance of STEM in their classes. She emphasized the value in understanding NASA missions and research, and that it will enhance learning for both students and teachers alike.

A female role in STEM is something that means a great deal to masses of students and ordinary people, as well as Dougherty, who in the future is looking to implement her students in the Artemis Program, which is the very organization that plans to have the first women on the moon by the year 2024. 

“My number one criterion is to find opportunities that get away from the textbook and do things that are more authentic and research-based,” Dougherty disclosed to the CTC.