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Saint Thomas Academy’s Westlake Wins Educator Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Mark Westlake, innovation center director and moderator of the Experimental Vehicle Team at Saint Thomas Academy, has been chosen a 2021 recipient of the Educator Achievement Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation. Each year, the organization honors three K-12 educators in the country for their contributions to the continued study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics within the classroom and beyond. The award comes with a monetary award for Westlake and a monetary award for Saint Thomas Academy to continue its efforts in STEM education. Westlake will be honored at the virtual AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala in August and will be featured in AIAA publications, including “Aerospace America.”
 
Westlake, a physics instructor prior to being named director of the innovation center, has been with Saint Thomas Academy since 1989. He founded the Experimental Vehicle Team in 1997 and has coached the team to 15 national championships, one international championship and numerous national records. He’s also supported student teams in NASA’s Microgravity University for Educators (MgUE) and the NASA Student Opportunities in Airborne Research (SOAR) programs. Westlake is a National Geographic Certified Teacher, a master teacher for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program, and has served as chairman of the advisory committee for the Solar Car Challenge. He is also a previous Space Educator of the Year, National Teacher of the Year for the Air Force Association and TEKNE Award winner.