LIFT and Battelle Celebrate Top MakerMinded Schools in Tennessee

Digital learning platform recognizes student achievements in advanced manufacturing and STEM

NASHVILLE, TN (JULY 30, 2019) — LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a Detroitbased national manufacturing innovation institute and member of Manufacturing USA, and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network today announced the winning schools of Tennessee’s 2018-2019 MakerMinded competition. This competition expands students’ and schools’ access to world-class advanced manufacturing and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences through an online platform. The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is a public-private collaborative between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle.

Led by LIFT, MakerMinded launched in Tennessee in 2016 to inspire more middle and high school students to pursue advanced manufacturing careers and equip them with 21st-century skills in-demand at Tennessee’s more than 5,000 manufacturers that currently employ more than 350,000 people.

The STEM Academy at Kenwood High School and Northwest Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee are being recognized for their students’ outstanding performance in MakerMinded, and will receive $2000 to spend on educational technologies from Eduporium.

These schools are just two of the many middle and high schools across Tennessee whose students are participating in cutting-edge education programs and activities through MakerMinded, and becoming the future workforce Tennessee needs to maintain and grow its manufacturing economy. Tennessee’s MakerMinded students are working towards becoming members of the future workforce needed to maintain and grow the manufacturing economy.

“These MakerMinded students in Tennessee are becoming the next generation of innovators and makers,” said Emily DeRocco, vice-president, education and workforce development, LIFT. “They prove we have the talent and the passion in our students to be a globally competitive manufacturing force; we just need to provide more opportunities for young people to access the right learning opportunities and hone their skills.”

Students and teachers across Tennessee are part of a national MakerMinded network that includes schools in Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia. LIFT works with local partners to onboard schools and recruit student participants. To date, more than 6,000 students and teachers from more than 500 middle and high schools are participating in MakerMinded.

“The MakerMinded program provides a framework for students to explore manufacturing and STEM career paths for themselves,” said Aimee Kennedy, senior vice president for Education and Philanthropy at Battelle. “Tennessee educators are finding new ways to incorporate STEM and manufacturing opportunities into their classrooms thanks to this program.”

Tracy Anderson, STEM teacher at Northwest Middle School, Knoxville, Tennessee, commented on the benefits of MakerMinded’s student reflections:

“When my students who are on competition teams return from their events, I am always looking for ways for them to reflect on the experience in a better way than a discussion of how ‘we won’ or ‘we lost,’” Anderson said. “I love that MakerMinded gives me that opportunity to have them communicate their thoughts on the experience, plus it gives them some validation that this was more than fun—it was a learning experience.”

Designed by LIFT and Tennessee Tech University’s iCUBE, MakerMinded directly links students to a diverse range of national and local advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities, and project-based learning. MakerMinded also includes a competition component, as students and schools receive points for each completed activity. Points are tallied on a real-time online leader board and the top schools are celebrated at year-end recognition events.

Students, schools, employers and others interested in joining the Tennessee MakerMinded campaign should visit

Students for the STEM Academy at Kenwood High School attend a robotics contest


Northwest Middle School in Knoxville, Tennessee Students participate in MakerMinded Activities


About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight materials manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research.

About Battelle
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers.

Battelle also manages a range of successful projects bringing quality STEM education to students including the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and the national STEMx network.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or or T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or

Jacey Cavanagh
(610) 637-2796

Joe Steele
(313) 309-9132

Katy Delaney
(614) 424-7208