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Hanan Attiyah receives $60,000 STEM Award

Hanan Attiyah receives check

Hanan Attiyah, Francis A. Desmares School Technology Integration Specialist, awarded $60,000; named CIA Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology Regional Winner

At a school-wide assembly held on May 5, Francis A. Desmares School Technology Integration Specialist Hanan Attiyah received $60,000 for an advanced technology elementary STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) lab. Mrs. Attiyah was a regional winner of a Central Intelligence Agency Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology Competition.

“The selection of our school for this honor is a testament to the bright future of STEM career opportunities awaiting our students,” said Mrs. Attiyah. “STEM is undeniably the path to the future, and our state, county, district, and school are now poised to embrace progress and advancement.” 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kari McGann was present at the award ceremony for the grant sharing, “We are excited at the continued dedication to provide access and opportunities in STEM.  A strong STEM education is a key driver for future success in college and career.”    

For her contest entry, Mrs. Attiyah submitted a five-minute video showcasing the need and possibilities of advanced technology at Desmares School. The video highlighted the urgency for advanced technology, its potential applications in classrooms, the necessity of advanced technology for students, and how equipment can help to enhance learning at Demares School.

Reflecting on her win, Mrs. Attiyah attributes creativity and uniqueness for the success of her submission. Her video highlighted hands-on learning, interdisciplinary projects and real-world applications.

“I wrote a captivating, yet humorous script and added visually stunning graphics to engage the viewers,” said Mrs. Attiyah. “I outlined our District’s STEM teaching philosophy, emphasizing the importance of expanding the STEM learning experience and inspiring students to pursue careers in STEM fields.”

This is the first CIA Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology competition, which was open to kindergarten through eighth-grade STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) educators across the country. Five regional winners were selected. 

“I am especially thrilled to shine a spotlight on Francis A. Desmares School. This school represents a diverse community that mirrors the rich tapestry of the United States,” said Mrs. Attiyah.

Mrs. Attiyah credits the District curriculum leaders, Technology Supervisor Ralph Losanno, Math/Science Supervisor Kristen Wolff and Language Arts/Social Studies Supervisor Dr. Michelle Cook, for championing her work and effort.

CIA Mission Possible Operation Advance Technology is part of the CIA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen STEAM education. The Operation Advance Technology program is sponsored by the CIA and managed by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. For a full description of the contest, please visit: