2021 BraveIT Award Winners

BraveIT 2021 highlights eight deserving nominees across the United States that work with IT leaders and educators making a difference in their communities.

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs help innovative minds to create, imagine, and excel — and as the employment landscape evolves, our future workforce is dependent on STEM education. This year’s BraveIT Award initiative shines a light on organizations dedicated to closing the IT skills gap and helping students innovate and create a bright and brave future for generations to come.

Learn more about the 2021 winners and nominees below. The organization with the most votes became our grand prize winner, earning a donation of $10,000. Second and third place winners received $5,000. All participating nominees received an upfront $2,000 donation from TierPoint.

The Children's Museum of Upstate logo

FIRST PLACE | $10,000

A Smithsonian affiliate and one of the largest children’s museums in the nation, TCMU is an incredible place where children can discover, learn and grow. TCMU offers over twenty exhibits that reflect all areas of STEAM-based learning and hands-on weekly programming for building critical thinking and developing other important skills. Through scholarship-funded field trips, all children can experience TCMU.

Warrior-Scholar Project logo


Warrior-Scholar Project partners with colleges and universities nationwide to provide intensive, college-preparatory STEM boot camps to service members and veterans, 60% of whom have a service-related disability. Faculty volunteer their time to teach, and peer mentors help ensure students acquire the skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed. Boot camps are offered at no cost to all student-veteran participants.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas logo

THIRD PLACE | $5,000

The Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas are fostering the next generation of female STEM professionals in fast-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. The STEM Center of Excellence is a 92-acre living laboratory providing year-round opportunities in robotics, coding, botany, chemistry, and more. Our mission is to help build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.


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2021 BraveIT Award Nominees


NOMINEE | $2,000

FIRST Mid-Atlantic is a regional affiliate of the national FIRST® organization. Their mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting, mentor-based, research and robotics programs, These programs aim to build science, engineering, and technology skills and foster well-rounded life capabilities, including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Summer Science Program Logo

NOMINEE | $2,000

One of the oldest, most prestigious pre-college enrichment programs, SSP has been inspiring teenagers to STEM careers since 1959. Living and working together on a college campus, participants undertake challenging research in Astrophysics, Biochemistry, or Genomics. The experience accelerates their intellectual and social development at a critical life inflection point, just before they apply to college.

Girls Who Code logo

NOMINEE | $2,000

Girls Who Code is one of the fastest growing non-profit organizations in the world focused on empowering girls from 3rd grade through college. The group has reached 450,000 students through programs in all 50 states, the UK, Canada, and India, teaching them to code, be brave, and when they doubt themselves, to persist, knowing they’re connected to an unbreakable sisterhood.

I.C. Stars logo

NOMINEE | $2,000

Founded by a former teacher, i.c.stars creates opportunities and economic mobility for promising individuals through its technology job-skills training. As a result of i.c.stars, young people secure roles in data, cloud, and software, and see a 300% earnings increase. i.c.stars also cultivates a pay-it-forward mentality that inspires graduates to drive change for their communities.

Aspire2STEAM logo

NOMINEE | $2,000

Aspire2STEAM provides scholarships and mentoring to young women and girls who face barriers to achieving STEAM training, certification, and college education. Because many of these women don’t have the financial means to pay for training and education, Aspire2STEAM’s work creates an impact that is far-reaching, with the power to change the trajectory of scholarship recipient’s futures.


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 BraveIT Award winners were announced September 23rd, 2021. Watch the awards program again, or for the first time.

“The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is honored to be selected to participate in the BraveIT Award program.  Our vision is a world where no barrier is bigger than a dream.  Funding from this program will allow TCMU to provide the opportunity for children and families to enjoy a wonderful learning experience at the museum regardless of their circumstances.”

Barbara Martin, VP Development, TCMU

“The BraveIT Award program recognizes initiatives that change lives, just like the life-changing scholarships and mentoring programs offered by the nonprofit Aspire2STEAM. That’s why Cloud Girls stands behind both these organizations and the work they do to inspire women and girls to ‘dream STEAM’ and make STEAM their career focus.”

Angela Hogaboom, Cloud Girls Philanthropic Co-Chair

“We’re delighted to be a finalist for the BraveIT Award and are grateful to TierPoint for recognizing the work of i.c.stars and others in developing the next generation of technology talent.”

President and Co-founder Sandee Kastrul, i.c.stars

“As a ‘pumping station’ on the ‘pipeline’ of future STEM professionals, we’re excited to be nominated for a BraveIT award.”

Richard Bowdon, SSP '74, Executive Director