First Name

Leigh

Last Name

Metcalfe

Bio

Always fascinated by science Leigh grew up tinkering, exploring and learning as much as possible about how things worked. Teachers willing to go above and beyond helped her follow her passion and work in the sciences in high school and college. She realized through an accidental job at an outdoor school that she loved teaching science as much as learning about it. After obtaining a teaching license and teaching for a few years, Leigh helped to start an environmental club that encouraged students to take action to reduce their impact on the environment through school-based and community-based action projects. Over the years, female leaders stepped up and used social media, technology and grant writing to encouraged their classmates to take action. Some of the goals they set and accomplished were to reduce water use in bathrooms, make the school an idle-free zone to reduce climate change and switch to reusable water bottles by installing a refill station. More recently- four years ago, Leigh started the robotics/engineering club when a small group of students who were really interested in engineering wanted an opportunity to design, build, program and solve problems through robotics. At the same time, Reed HS school developed engineering focused pathways for students interested in going into to civil or environmental engineering related fields. Leigh designed a course, Energy Technologies, that encouraged students to learn the fundamentals of electricity, electronics and engineering to explore energy related problems. The first year she taught the classes, it had a ratio of 30:1 boys:girl. Using high school girls to talk with other students about STEM, she slowly increased the numbers to 4:1 boys:girls which continues to increase. One year, Leigh encouraged a small group of girls to form an all-girl robotics team. This team won the Northern Nevada FTC championship year and took third place in the state. Students in Energy Technologies class qualified to participate in Skills USA as a female team in Mobile Robotics. This year, the robotics team has doubled in size and we are currently 9:11 boys:girls on the team. The students push themselves to learn to create computer drafted robot designs using inventor, dive into programming for autonomous and operated control of the robots, they design templates for data collection and assembly portfolios of their work and show case their team work, dedication and problem solving skills through interviews. Leigh is constantly encouraged by young women who are willing to push themselves in science, math and technology and enjoy working with them as learn as much as they can in high school so they are prepared for college and careers in STEM. This year, Leigh encouraged a variety of student to enter national contests, grants and challenges. One female student entered her technology solution to a real-world problem to the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. By encouraging her to take that step, her project was selected as a State winner and earned the school $15,000 of technology. Access to that new technology can then inspire the next student to dream big and design a technology, a solution or an invention. This brought a great deal of media attention to the school and she was able to promote the importance of women in STEM fields, especially technology. Mrs. Metcalfe advised a team of students, lead by a female student, as they applied for the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant and successfully earned a $20,000 research grant to design an invention to solve a local problem. To support students over the years she became a member of various professional organizations that provide training, materials and resources to teachers such as FIRST, SkillsUSA, NSTA, CUE, and NACTE.