Central Falls High School Teacher Receives 2022 Rhode Island STEAM Educator Award

Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Central Falls High School teacher Alison Murray praised for empowering students to think critically and make real-world connections through STEAM education

CENTRAL FALLS, RI – In a surprise celebration Wednesday, the Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College (RIC) and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) presented Central Falls High School teacher Alison Murray with the 2022 RI STEAM Educator Award. Murray, who has been teaching in Rhode Island public schools for more than a decade, is known to her colleagues as an innovative, engaging educator who empowers students, advocates for multilingual learners, and continuously inspires her peers.   

The award was presented during RI STEAM Month, which highlights the importance of learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art+Design, and Mathematics.   

“Every student deserves an enriching, engaging and inclusive education,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Thanks to Alison Murray, students at Central Falls High School receive just that. Thank you, Alison, for providing exceptional and exciting opportunities to Rhode Island students over the course of your career, and congratulations on this well-deserved honor.”  

Along with this recognition, Murray will receive a $500 classroom stipend and $500 personal award courtesy of Rhode Island Energy. Additionally, Blackstone Valley Tourism provided two complimentary passes for the Explorer Riverboat Tour. PASCO Scientific, a national innovator in science and STEM education, donated a Code Node device. 

“The RI STEAM Center at RIC is thrilled to sponsor this award and thankful for our strong partnership with RIDE in making it happen this year,” said Rhode Island STEAM Center Executive Director Dr. Lisa Bain. “The passion, creativity, and expertise of the STEAM educators throughout Rhode Island is impressive and deserves to be recognized. It’s an honor to continue the legacy of Dr. Carol Giuriceo, the creator of this award, who was known for her dedication to all thing STEAM.” 

“Preparing our students with the skills they need to excel in the STEAM areas is critical to Rhode Island’s future,” said Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy. “We’re proud to support the star teachers, like Alison, who make their lessons in these fields a priority and an engaging experience for students.  Congratulations to Alison and her peers for all they do!” 

A computer science, engineering and computer science teacher, Murray has an extensive resume with experience writing blended science curriculum and encouraging students to tap into their creativity, collaborate amongst each other, and make real world connections.  

“We are thrilled Alison is among an array of Rhode Island educators shaping the next generation of leaders, learners, innovators and educators of the 21st century,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “We are grateful for educators like Alison who are preparing students for their futures and strengthening the Rhode Island workforce.”  

A highlight of Murray’s career includes being selected for the University of Rhode Island’s Teacher at Sea program due to her leadership in URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Murray worked for weeks with Central Falls students teaching critical concepts around oceanography and environmental engineering, and later assisted students in building a boat, which Murray launched hundreds of miles off the coast of Rhode Island from the research vessel Endeavor. The boat recently landed in the Azores, and Murray led a powerful, cross-cultural Zoom class with students from Central Falls and Portugal.  

“From exploring 3D printing to building a boat launched into the Atlantic, Central Falls students are receiving a truly world-class STEAM education thanks to Alison Murray,” said Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. “Thank you, Alison, for your unwavering commitment to inspiring your students and helping them reach their full potential.”  

Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera added, “Alison Murray is a shining example of the dedication and creativity of Central Falls educators. Her energy and devotion to helping students connect critical STEAM concepts to issues in their own community is preparing the next generation for advanced problem solving, innovation and leadership. We couldn’t be prouder of her."

"Central Falls Schools is honored to have Ms. Murray as part of our team,” said Superintendent Stephanie Downey Toledo. “She is a brilliant and innovative educator that is deeply committed to the students at the HS and also sharing the learning her HS students are doing with our youngest scientists by always going the extra mile to include our elementary and middle school students as part of their larger projects to both inspire and spread the learning beyond just her classroom.

Central Falls High School Principal Bob McCarthy described Murray as the driving force behind the high school’s Computer Science pathway and praised her for her “unmatched energy” and “big picture vision” for STEAM education. 

“Alison’s demonstrated commitment, expertise and willingness to do whatever it takes to provide our students with authentic STEAM-related learning opportunities has made a difference in the lives of a generation of CFHS students,” McCarthy wrote in his recommendation letter.   

Additionally, Murray recently completed the WindWin certification program and training, which has allowed engineering students the opportunity to obtain college credits from the Community College of Rhode Island. Murray is also an active member of CS4RI (Computer Science for Rhode Island), a cross-sector partnership bringing high-quality computer science learning experiences to all students.     

“Because Ms. Murray is a true advocate for equity, empowerment and excellence, her students are thriving!” Central Falls School District Director of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development Catherine Rickert wrote in her recommendation letter.  

In addition to her work in Central Falls, Murray serves as English Language Learner Curriculum Developer for Computer Science the University of Rhode Island, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the community College of Rhode Island. Prior to her work in Rhode Island, Murray taught at various universities and colleges. Murray holds a Masters of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language from Rhode Island College and a Masters of Science – Physics from Drexel University. Murray received her Bachelor of Science – Physics from Ursinus College.  

RI STEAM Educator Award nominations and applications are reviewed by a team from the RI STEAM Center, RIDE, RIC, and URI. The STEAM Educator Award holds special meaning this year, following the loss of Dr. Carol Giuriceo, who served as the center’s director since 2013 and organized the first STEAM Educator Award. Dr. Giuriceo passed away in 2021 after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.

Press Release Topics