H/Posts & Press Releases/Da Vinci Science Center Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Winners

Da Vinci Science Center Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Winners

The Da Vinci Science Center announced today the names of twelve exemplary students, teachers, and community leaders who will be recognized and honored with prestigious Hall of Fame Awards at its annual Gala on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The esteemed recipients join an extraordinary list of people whose passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) has brought science to life in classrooms and communities across the Lehigh Valley. “Our 2017 Award Winners have demonstrated an extended commitment to The Da Vinci Science Center’s mission throughout their lives,” said Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of the Da Vinci Science Center. “The students have shown tremendous leadership and participation in STEM beyond the classroom. The teachers exhibit STEM leadership that fosters deep and meaningful student learning and exceptional student achievement. The community leaders exemplify bringing science to life and lives to science by providing leadership, sharing their expertise, and engaging others in activities that support the Science Center’s mission. Congratulations and thank you to this year’s winners.”

The Da Vinci Science Center has bestowed its Hall of Fame Awards annually since 1999 to recognize and promote outstanding achievements in STEM education throughout eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey. Corporate and community honorees are chosen by the Executive Committee of the Da Vinci Science Center Board of Trustees. Student and educator awards, which include monetary prizes, are bestowed by Hall of Fame selection committees.

The 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Gala begins at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel in Allentown, Pa. Event proceeds support Da Vinci Science Center exhibits and programs, particularly programs that bring science to life for underserved children across the Lehigh Valley. The black-tie-optional evening includes the presentation of the annual Hall of Fame Awards, a cocktail hour, dinner, silent auction, live auction, and special pledge appeal. Those who are unable to attend the sold out event may make a donation online. For more details, please visit davincisciencecenter.org/gala or contact Judy Belaires in the Philanthropy Office at 484.664.1002 ext. 102.

TEVA Pharmaceuticals is the presenting sponsor for the 2017 Hall of Fame Awards Gala. Additional sponsors include Air Products, PPL, ATAS International, Cedar Crest College, B Braun, City Center Lehigh Valley, Lutron, Highmark, The Ryan Family Foundation, Bob and Sandy Lovett, and Frank and Yvonne Schweighardt, along with many others.

The Da Vinci Science Center will celebrate by honoring the following community leaders, students, and teachers for their inspiring and critical achievements in science, technology, engineering, and math:

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous)
For showing an extraordinary commitment to science, education, youth, and the Da Vinci Science Center’s mission throughout her life.

Marlene “Linny” Fowler (deceased)
A pillar in the Lehigh Valley community, Linny Fowler was an indispensable figure in shaping the Da Vinci Science Center into what it is today. Her generous commitment of time and resources and her passion for the Center’s mission to bring science to life and lives to science were instrumental to the Center’s success. In the Center’s formative years when it spun off from Lehigh to become an independent nonprofit organization, Fowler’s generosity supported Center operations to ensure that the Lehigh Valley would have a hands-on science center. Fowler was a Lifetime Trustee. Her support over the years included the lead gift toward constructing the Da Vinci Science Center’s building in Allentown.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Spirit of Verrocchio Mentorship Award
For her passionate mentorship of the Da Vinci Science Center and its mission. The award is named after a 15th century mentor to a young Leonardo da Vinci.

Laurene Ryan, Senior Director of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Diversity (Retired) for PPL Corporation
Laurie Ryan has been an incredible mentor to the Da Vinci Science Center over the years. With more than 20 years of experience in corporate human resource leadership roles, she has been the go-to resource for Board members and Center staff—providing leadership and support for board development and evaluation, workforce planning, and employee development. Most recently, Ryan served as Senior Director of Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Diversity at PPL Corporation in Allentown. Ryan has been a Da Vinci Science Center Trustee since 2009 and served as Board Secretary from 2012-2016. She has also served on the Center’s Executive, Governance and Nominating, Strategic Planning and HR Committees, in addition to the Teacher Hall of Fame Awards Selection Panel.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Distinguished Female STEM Leadership Award
Honoring a female who has provided distinguished leadership in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the greater Lehigh Valley area.

Terry Capuano, RN, MSN, MBA, FACHE; Chief Operating Officer at Lehigh Valley Health Network
Terry Capuano, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of LVHN, began her professional career as a registered nurse in a medical-surgical unit. Since that time, she has held numerous positions in the areas of staff development, education, and administration. In 1986, she became a Division Director at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), a position that solidified her desire to manage and lead in health care. During Capuano’s tenure at LVHN, the health network has grown to include eight hospital campuses, as well as multiple outpatient centers and physician practices in the surrounding counties.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Grand Maestro Corporate Award
Honoring a Da Vinci Science Center partner in recognition of its substantial contributions to the scientific community and to the Center.

Bosch Rexroth Corporation
Starting as an engineering firm based in Germany, Bosch Rexroth expanded to the U.S. in 1967 with a small office in Easton and a handful of associates. The company grew quickly enough to move into a newly built industrial hydraulics manufacturing facility seven years later, the cornerstone of its current manufacturing campus in Bethlehem. In addition to being an early sponsor of Da Vinci Science Center’s robotics exhibits and new preschool experience, Bosch Rexroth has generously supported the Center’s outreach programs in inner city schools.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Student Excellence Awards
Recognizing high school students in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey who not only excel in science academically, but seek to expand their knowledge and skills outside of the classroom.

Claire Furino, Senior at Voorhees High School
A senior at Voorhees High School, Claire Furino was chosen to be a New Jersey Governor’s STEM Scholar. She is conducting research to determine the efficiency of using a plant-based bio filter to purify wastewater. Furino started a Journal of Youth in Science Club for her school and has volunteered her time to the Jellyfish Project in Barnegat Bay and to the Hunderton County Parks Survey Project.

Rebecca McCabe, Senior at Saucon Valley High School
Rebecca McCabe founded Saucon Valley High School’s STEM Club, where she organized thrilling activities to host after school, tailoring topics to reflect members’ interests in order to ignite a love of STEM in her peers. McCabe also worked with kids ages 3-8 as a counselor for the Da Vinci Science Center’s Red Door Early Learning Center program, where she helped to encourage curiosity and a love of science.

Jonathan Okasinski, Junior at North Penn High School
Jonathan Okasinski took home the second place prize nationally in math at the Broadcom MASTERS science fair competition for his Quantum Entanglement Project, where he demonstrated quantum entanglement for less than $1,000, though it usually costs ten times that amount. Okasinski also volunteers his time at a local library, where he guides students on “Behind the Screens,” a class for interested middle and elementary school students to learn about 3D printing, Lego robotics, and more.

Rachel Swope, Senior at Central Bucks High School West
A senior at Central Bucks High School West, Rachel Swope is an active member of the science research club, where she pursues research opportunities and participates in several local science fair competitions. Swope interns at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, where she has conducted research on liver cancer, Hepatitis B, and more. She was a finalist at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and ranked 8th in an anatomy event for her Science Olympiad Team.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Educator Excellence Awards
Recognizing excellence and innovation in the teaching of science and technology, the fostering of deep and meaningful student learning, and generation of exceptional student achievement.

Sean Flueso, Physics Teacher, Parkland High School
Sean Flueso’s enthusiasm for Physics and distinguished teaching style creates a fun and inspiring environment where students feel challenged and encouraged. Flueso uses classroom activities to encourage inquiry and inspire students to pursue STEM careers.

Stephanie Taddeo, 2nd Grade Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School
Stephanie Taddeo provides an engaging classroom environment based on hands-on science inquiry and cross curricular integration. Taddeo took two weeks of her summer to begin growing a garden for her students, and partnered with another teacher to raise a worm farm. Taddeo has dedicated 10 years to teaching Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades at Jefferson Elementary School.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center Educator Excellence STEM Leadership Award
Recognizing a teacher who demonstrates leadership in their school or district and an ability to engage others to make substantive improvements or advances in STEM education.

Timothy Cunningham, 8th Grade Teacher, Nazareth Area Middle School
Timothy Cunningham has been a major part of the planning, development, and delivery of the school-wide STEM initiative at Nazareth Area Middle School. Cunningham also purchases all of the supplies needed for his “Trout in the Classroom” project, where he involves students in every step of the growing process.

2017 Da Vinci Science Center New Educator Excellence Award
Recognizing a newer educator who shows promising growth in their work with progress in creating a deeply engaging, inquiry-focused classroom that supports student discourse in STEM.

Atul Gopalan, Secondary School Alternative and Special Education Teacher, River Rock Academy
Atul Gopalan uses differentiated instruction in an attempt to motivate his students. Gopalan incorporates STEM into his daily lesson plans. He also created a Science Fair for students to compete in and a Culture Week where students can learn about their different backgrounds.

Da Vinci Science Center: Open for ExSCIting Possibilities
The Da Vinci Science Center is a national award-winning science center that has brought science to life and lives to science since 1992. Da Vinci Science Center experiences make science fun and approachable, helping to connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the wonders of science. An independent nonprofit organization with IRS 501©(3) status, the Da Vinci Science Center engages more than 140,000 participants annually with its exhibits, programs, events, and partnerships.

Additional information and opportunities to support the Da Vinci Science Center are available on the web at davincisciencecenter.org and facebook.com/davincisciencecenter.

News Media Contact @ DSC: Communications Office, 484.664.1002, Ext. 112
DSC Facts and News Resources

Print version of this story (.pdf)


P: 484.664.1002
D: 3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass, Allentown, PA 18103
H: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 12-5 p.m.
Get Directions