Dickinson High School Educator Named Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year

Photo Credit:  Jersey City Public School District via Facebook                                                                                                                                                                 Billy Urena, a math teacher at William L. Dickinson High School, has been selected among thousands of eligible teachers as a 2022 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient Mr. Urena will receive a prize package valued at more than $30,000, which includes $25,000 to expand computer science and/or robotics education at his school and $5,000 teacher cash award.

Mr. Urena learned of the honor when his colleagues surprised them with an Amazon box filled with Amazon Future Engineer swag. In addition to the award, Urena is also invited to join the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher Advisory Council where he’ll receive professional development opportunities, connect with like-minded computer science educators, and advise on current and upcoming Amazon Future Engineer initiatives.

He is dedicated to his students and makes every attempt to ensure that they are successful in his AP Computer Science courses. During the pandemic, he worked outside of school hours to provide his students with the support they needed.

“We are excited to recognize our third class of Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year recipients and celebrate their efforts over the past year to increase access to computer science opportunities in their classrooms and beyond,” said Victor Reinoso, global director of Amazon’s philanthropic education initiatives. “Despite another difficult year with unique challenges brought on by the pandemic, we were impressed by the immense creativity and dedication of these teachers to help their students excel and build fundamental computer science and coding skills that will help them achieve their career goals, whatever those might be.”

He is one of ten teachers across the country who received the Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award. Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. Scholarship America reviewed applicants and selected the award recipients.

Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the STEM field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that job opportunities for computer science workers will grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, yet only 8% of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, and only a small percentage of those come from underserved and historically underrepresented communities. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for computer and information technology William L. Dickinson High School Educator Named Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year occupations was $91,250 in May 2020, which is more than twice the median annual wage for all occupations.

Amazon Future Engineer aims to bridge the divide between interested students and access to computer science courses and opportunities. A childhood to career education program, Amazon Future Engineer gives elementary, middle, and high school students from diverse communities around the globe access to computer science education where they can explore project-based learning initiatives, using code to make music, program robots, and solve problems. In addition to its annual Teacher of the Year program, each year Amazon Future Engineer awards 250 students with four-year, $40,000 scholarships and paid internships at Amazon. The program is currently available in the U.S., UK, France, Canada, India and Germany. For more information, visit amazonfutureengineer.com.

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