MakerMinded Celebrates Top Schools in Kentucky and Tennessee

Digital Platform and Campaign is Changing the Course of STEM and Advanced Manufacturing Learning

Jacey Cavanagh
(610) 637-2796

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Murfreesboro, TN—The LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow national manufacturing institute, along with Tennessee Tech University iCube, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Foundation for Kentucky Industry, is proud to announce the winning schools of the 2016-2017 MakerMinded competition. Eight schools in Tennessee and Kentucky are being recognized for excellence in advanced manufacturing and STEM learning through their participation in MakerMinded, a new online STEM learning and competition platform.

“These students are our future leaders in advanced manufacturing,” said Lawrence E. Brown, executive director, LIFT. “Through MakerMinded, they are not only learning foundational STEM skills, but getting hands-on experience in great manufacturing careers in their communities.”

Maxine Smith STEAM Academy Students Tour the Thyssen Krupp Manufacturing Facility in Memphis, TN

MakerMinded was launched at the start of the 2016 school year to impassion students about advanced manufacturing and provide them with transformational learning experiences that set them on track towards 21st century manufacturing careers. The platform provides access to a diverse range of national and local STEM and advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities, project-based learning, and competitions.

“The first year impact of MakerMinded is powerful evidence of the magic that happens when you inspire young people,” said Emily DeRocco, LIFT’s Education and Workforce Director.” “In less than one year, over 2000 students at over 200 schools across Kentucky and Tennessee completed over 1900 STEM programs, gaining foundational technical and employability skills that will poise them for success in the high-tech manufacturing industry.” LIFT and its partners are awarding the top six schools in Tennessee, which competed from October to May, and the top two schools in Kentucky, which competed from February through May. These schools will receive Virtual Reality Learning Systems to give their students additional hands-on exposure to STEM and advanced manufacturing technology and careers.

The following top Tennessee schools will be awarded today at the Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit in Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

  • STEM School Chattanooga – Hamilton County Department of Ed (Chattanooga, TN)
  • Heritage High School – Blount County Schools (Maryville, TN)
  • Cookeville High School – Putnam County School District (Cookeville, TN)
  • White Station Middle School – Shelby County Schools (Memphis, TN)
  • Rose Park Middle School – Metro Nashville Public Schools (Nashville, TN)
  • Maxine Smith STEAM Academy – Shelby County Schools (Memphis, TN)

White Station Middle School (Memphis, TN) Students Have Fun With eCybermission

“When we give schools the innovations and tools to succeed, we are ensuring successful futures for students,” said Wes Hall, executive director, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network. “MakerMinded is a gamechanger that is increasing students’ access to the real-world STEM experiences and skills they need to realize great careers.”

Leading Kentucky Schools will be celebrated at a special ceremony at the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers Innovation Summit on June 1, 2017. These schools are:

  • Trigg County High School—Trigg County Public Schools (Cadiz, KY)
  • Turkey Foot Middle School—Kenton County Schools (Edgewood, KY)

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor, Jenean Hampton, will give out the awards to Kentucky’s winning schools on June 1. “I’m so proud of these students and am excited for their future,” said Lt. Gov. Hampton. “I’m confident their energy, passion, and knack for STEM will translate into talented employees as well as remarkable leaders.”

The 2017-2018 MakerMinded competition in Kentucky and Tennessee will begin in August, 2017. In partnership with Battelle and the Ohio STEM Learning Network, LIFT will launch MakerMinded in Ohio in August, 2017.

For more information, visit

Watch a video to discover how MakerMinded works.

View more images of the MakerMinded initiative:

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal 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 the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
Established in 1911, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers is Kentucky’s most effective advocate for manufacturers. KAM’s mission is to protect and create a manufacturing-friendly environment in Kentucky. In addition to advocating, KAM connects, educates and provides cost- saving programs and products to members. For more information, go to:

About the Foundation for Kentucky Industry
The Foundation is a statewide, not-for-profit, on a mission to strengthen Kentucky’s most valuable economic indicator – manufacturing, and the qualified personnel manufacturing needs to drive it. With support from private and public partners, the Foundation advances innovation and technology through education within the changing culture of manufacturing. For more information contact

About iCube
Tennessee Tech University’s iCube is a place where students and faculty Imagine, Inspire, and Innovate. We are a leader in advancing collaborative solutions with extensive experience in public policy marketing campaigns and virtual reality development. To learn more about our center, please visit

About TSIN
The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) is a unique public-private collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Memorial Institute designed to promote and expand the teaching and learning of STEM education in K-12 public schools across Tennessee. To learn more about the TSIN, please visit