Indy mayor to be recognized for robotics passion, commitment to STEM education

TechPoint Foundation for Youth is pleased to announce that its board of directors has selected Gregory A. Ballard, Mayor of Indianapolis, as the 2015 Bridge Builder Award recipient.

Mayor OfficialThe award will be presented to Mayor Ballard during the Mira Awards gala at the JW Marriott on May 2. The Mira Awards is an annual program that recognizes the best of tech in Indiana and is produced by TechPoint, a sister organization to the TechPoint Foundation for Youth.

“The Mayor’s commitment to ensure that all children in Indianapolis have access to an education that enables them to define their life’s path is truly an inspiration,” said Laura Dodds, Executive Director of TechPoint Foundation for Youth. “We are a proud partner of the City of Indianapolis through our work with the US2020 project and the IndyVRC, now in its fourth year. This partnership has allowed us to witness firsthand Mayor Ballard’s passion for engaging students in STEM education programs, and his commitment to preparing the next generation of citizens for today’s high tech work environment.”

The Bridge Builder Award is given to an individual, program, or organization that has transformed technology education for Indiana’s students who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields, including girls, minorities, and students from low-income backgrounds.

Mayor Ballard has been chosen to receive this award in recognition of his vision, commitment, and steadfast pursuit of providing access to hands-on, mentor-led, robotics education and programming for all Indianapolis students. The mayor’s passion has made a significant impact through programs such as the City of Indianapolis VEX Robotics Championship (IndyVRC) presented by Roche Diagnostics. The 2014 event successfully engaged more than 800 students, provided high-quality STEM programming for more than 125 schools, was supported by nearly 250 volunteers, showcased 35 STEM Fair industry and university partners, and hosted more than 5,000 members of the public.

“When I first became involved with robotics, it was very clear that Indianapolis could become a leader in engaging students and schools in STEM activities,” Mayor Ballard said. “Since then, the Indy VEX Robotics Championship has grown to become the largest city-wide competition in the nation. The critical thinking, time management, and teamwork skills that students learn throughout the process are invaluable. I continue to be impressed by the quality of the event and its continued growth. This award is a clear indication of the success of hands-on, student-led learning.”

About Mayor Gregory A. Ballard

Mayor Gregory A. Ballard was elected the 48th Mayor of Indianapolis on November 6, 2007 and was re-elected to a second term on November 8, 2011.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Mayor Ballard graduated from Cathedral High School, and later received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Indiana University. After graduating, he joined the United States Marine Corps, and continued his education while serving in the Marines, becoming a distinguished graduate of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and attaining a master’s degree in science from the Marine Corps University.

Ballard served time in the first Gulf War, with his military career culminating in his service with the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, where he retired in 2001 after 23 years of service and receiving numerous awards.

Today, Ballard and his wife Winnie have two children, a son and daughter, and still reside in Indianapolis.

About TechPoint Foundation For Youth

In its 14th year as the leader in technology education efforts for the state of Indiana, TechPoint Foundation for Youth is committed to providing our state’s underserved K-12 students with opportunities to explore the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) opportunities, both during and outside of the school day, that inspire the pursuit of STEM careers.

We believe, that Indiana’s youth should be equipped to address the growing demand for a skilled STEM workforce. We have, and continue to be, the leader in connecting youth serving organizations, STEM programs, and STEM industry for the benefit of Indiana’s underserved student populations. We are Growing Indiana’s Future.


techpoint-mira-awards-ad-300x250 (1)A limited number of tickets are still available for the Mira Awards where Mayor Ballard will receive the 2015 TechPoint Foundation for Youth Bridge Builder Award.

However, the event has sold out the past two years and TechPoint expects to sell the event out within the next 10 days. Get tickets here or click on the banner advertisement to the right.

Join us at the Mira Awards on May 2, at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis to recognize Mayor Ballard and “the best of tech in Indiana!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maggie Cline is program director for TechPoint Foundation for Youth.