Engineers Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce Karen Melander as the recipient of the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award! Karen has participated in the Student Impact Project (SIP) for over 15 years and her contributions inside the classroom and to our organization will have a lasting impact for years to come.

Karen taught the Architecture and Design classes at Abraham Lincoln High School. With dedication and determination, she helped establish ALHS as one of the top performing programs year after year. Her students have consistently produced award winning bridges at the Annual Bridge Showcase & Awards Event, including winning first and second place in the 2021 competition.

A constant supporter of the program, Karen built her classroom activities around the EAA program, creating unique ancillary assignments to support the bridge curriculum. Additionally, she has advocated for specific supplies and tools to help students create unique features that enhance the bridge design process and construction.

“Karen’s remarkable knowledge of architecture and design, combined with her unrelenting support for each of her students, helped me develop a deep love of architecture and inspired me — and so many other students — to pursue a career in structural engineering,” said Simon Ng, who was a student in Karen’s class as a high school freshman, and now twelve years later, is an EAA Classroom Volunteer teaching the SIP to the next generation of future engineers and architects.

Karen retired from teaching over the summer, and has recently moved to Rome, Italy to study and earn her Masters in Art History. Her ALHS successor will continue to offer our program to students, keeping the traditions Karen set in motion, and furthering the opportunity for students to learn about the importance of integrating design and engineering.

To commemorate all of Karen’s amazing achievements, EAA is proud to create the Karen Melander Design Award for the Student Impact Project. This Award will be presented to one individual or team who uses thoughtful and creative design elements in their bridge, starting with the 2022 Bridge Showcase & Awards Event.

Join us in sending our sincere appreciation, best wishes and congratulations to Karen!