SC Council on Competitiveness to award 2023 SC STEM Educator of the Year and name new Boston Dynamics AI-enabled robot

May 16, 2023

May 19th Ceremony at Richland District Two R2i2 Student Innovation Center

SC Tech, an initiative of the SC Council on Competitiveness (“SC Competes”), in partnership with S²TEM Centers SC, The Citadel STEM Center, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and CS for SC awarded the winner of the 2023 SC STEM Educator of the Year Award at an upcoming ceremony on May 19th at the R2i2 Student Innovation Center in Columbia. The award honors Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) educators who are making a significant difference in the lives of students by providing an excellent curriculum, encouraging lifelong learning, and inspiring a passion for STEM beyond the classroom and into the future. This year’s awards are sponsored by Comporium, Bojangles, and the SC Council on Competitiveness.

“The impact of STEM education on our developing workforce is becoming more and more evident.” Susie Shannon, President and CEO at the SC Council on Competitiveness noted, “Our May 19th event will highlight the innovation that results from a dedicated educator and inspired group of students.”

This year’s five finalists, announced in April, include:

  • Brenda Bouldin – Blue Ridge Elementary School
  • Heather Mauldin – Green Sea Floyds Middle/High School
  • Dr. Marsha Neal – Phillip Simmons Middle School, Daniel Island School
  • Kayla Short – Fairforest Middle School
  • Dr. Tim Swick – Sandlapper Elementary School

Each of the four regional finalists will receive $1,000, and the SC STEM Educator of the Year winner will receive $5,000. The 2023-2024 STEM Educator of the Year will also have the opportunity to attend STEM conferences, participate in STEM industry roundtables, and promote his/her platform over the next 12 months.

In addition to naming this year’s SC STEM Educator of the Year, SC Competes will announce the name of its new Boston Dynamics robotic dog, model name “Spot.” Over the last several months, schools around the state have submitted names for “Spot.” The winning school and/or classroom will be invited to the ceremony and will get the first official school visit from the state’s new AI-enabled robotic tool.

Following the announcement of winners, there will be a tour of the R2i2 Student Innovation Center, highlighting the work being led by 2022 SC STEM Educator of the Year, Kirstin Bullington. Over the past year, Ms. Bullington’s class has been building an electric vehicle, a timely focus area given the recent record E-mobility related company announcements in South Carolina and in the Midlands.

“Through their passion and innovation, standout STEM teachers open up new worlds of possibilities for their students,” said Interim Superintendent Nancy Gregory. “We are honored to celebrate the work of the finalists and STEM educators everywhere.”

The South Carolina STEM Educator of the Year award ceremony is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. The event will begin promptly at 10am on May 19th and will be streamed live at For more information and to RSVP, visit the event page.

About The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness

SC Competes is a business-led nonprofit organization committed to advancing the long-term economic competitiveness of our state, industries, and citizens. Our work is accomplished through actionable research on opportunities and threats to South Carolina’s competitiveness; support of industry clusters that provide South Carolina a competitive advantage; and education and workforce development initiatives that ensure all South Carolina’s citizens are equipped to compete in a global economy. We execute our work through partnerships, recognizing that our state’s economic success is secured through sustained collaboration among the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors. For more information, visit