WVU Center for Excellence in STEM Education, WV Forward, LIFT Celebrate Top MakerMinded Schools in West Virginia at Launch of Second Annual Competition

Digital learning platform recognizes student achievements in advanced manufacturing and STEM

Morgantown, W.VA. (August 20, 2019) — The West Virginia University Center for Excellence in STEM Education, WV Forward and national manufacturing innovation institute, LIFT, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, will celebrate the top two schools of West Virginia’s inaugural MakerMinded competition at the start of the school year. The celebrations also will launch the second annual statewide competition, which recognizes student achievements in advanced manufacturing and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), demonstrated through the use of the digital learning platform, MakerMinded.

Tygarts Valley Middle/High School and Cabell Midland High School secured the top scores for their students’ outstanding performance in MakerMinded, and will each receive educational robotics technology to enhance their STEM curriculum.

In partnership with LIFT and the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Education program, MakerMinded launched in West Virginia in the fall of 2018 to inspire more middle and high school students to pursue advanced manufacturing careers and equip them with the complex, technical skills in demand at West Virginia’s over 1,000 manufacturers that currently employ more than 47,000 employees.

Ceremonies will be held on August 23 at Tygarts Valley Middle/High School and September 6 at Cabell Midland High School to bring together the student bodies, community leaders and local governments to celebrate the schools’ achievements, which include activities from creating a STEM club and using Maker technologies to participating in Hour of Code events and competing in robotics and cyber contests.

“We are so thrilled be part of bringing this opportunity to West Virginia,” said Gay Stewart, director of the Center for Excellence in STEM Education. “MakerMinded offers unique opportunities for students to gain 21st century skills that can pave pathways to in-demand STEM careers. The average salary of jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry is already over 1.5 times the average West Virginia salary, and is increasing.

West Virginia’s MakerMinded students are poised to become the talent our state needs to meet its most multifaceted defense, technological and manufacturing challenges.”

These schools are just two of the 34 schools across West Virginia whose students are participating in activities through MakerMinded, supporting the future workforce West Virginia needs to maintain and grow its manufacturing economy.

Stewart added, “Programs like MakerMinded help us move West Virginia forward by preparing our students for the jobs of the future, building a robust talent pipeline in STEM disciplines.”

“MakerMinded is one of the tools which will help fill the ‘missing middle’ in advanced manufacturing,” said Nigel Francis, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, LIFT. “We are proud to see the impact is it having in West Virginia and around the country.”

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 such as these.

It’s not too late to join in! Students, schools, employers and others interested in participating in the West Virginia MakerMinded should visit

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.

Jacey Cavanagh
(610) 637-2796

Joe Steele
(313) 309-9132

Vanessa Licwov-Chanell
West Virginia MakerMinded
(304) 293-4044