A Macomb County educator who created a high school medical sciences program and seeks out hands-on opportunities for students to encourage them to pursue medical careers has been honored with an Excellence of Education award from the Michigan Lottery.
The award winner, Shawn Ann Mahfet, RN, MSN, teaches the Armada Medical Sciences Program at Armada High School. The program combines science and math content with practical applications and offers students a chance to earn a certification that enables them to work in the medical field after graduation.
The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public school educators across the state during the school year.
Winners of the weekly award receive a plaque, a $500 cash prize, and a $500 grant to their classroom, school or school district. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize.
Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery’s media partner stations: WXYZ-TV in Detroit, FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, and FOX 47 in Lansing. The news segment featuring Mahfet will air this evening in Grand Rapids and Lansing and then on Thursday in Detroit.
For the Excellence in Education awards program, the Lottery has teamed up with Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo, who presented her with the award at the Breslin Center.
Mahfet said her favorite part of being a teacher is “sharing my experience and knowledge about health care with my students and helping my students gain practical experience in health care settings.”
“I began working in the health care field in medical career and technical education and loved teaching within my nursing profession. When the opportunity became available to teach in a high school setting, I jumped at the chance. I am excited to have the opportunity to give back to my students,” she said. “I love watching students get excited about medicine! Health care is always changing. There is always something new to learn.”
Mahfet was nominated for the Excellence in Education award by the principal at Armada High School, Phillip Jankowski. In his nomination, he noted Mahfet established the medical sciences program as a part-time teacher in 2010 with 20 students. Since then, the program has grown to more than 220 students, including some from other districts.
“The curriculum is based on state and national guidelines and includes a competitive component through the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) organization, allowing students to compete at the state and national level in various health science disciplines,” the nomination said, noting that the students in the program consistently earn awards in the competitions.
“Mrs. Mahfet always goes above and beyond to help out in the community with health fairs for senior citizens and provide other hands-on experiences for her students. These include partnerships with local medical providers including the Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, Ferris State University, and several other colleges and universities,” it said.
“Last year, she created an innovative partnership with Macomb Community College to enable her students to earn their Certified Nursing Assistant certification. Also, she partnered with St. Louis University to enable students to observe procedures such as autopsies, heart surgeries, and joint replacements and give students opportunities to interact with doctors and other medical staff members.
“As a district where only 15 percent of parents have college degrees, many of the students in Armada High School are among the first in their family to attend college. Mrs. Mahfet has ignited a passion for learning that has resulted in 100 percent of her students going on to college. They are exceptionally well prepared to be successful and cite Mrs. Mahfet’s inspiration as the reason they found their passion for medicine. Not only is Shawn Mahfet changing the lives of her students for the better, she is helping to improve the lives of the many patients those students will treat in the years to come.”
Mahfet earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wayne State University and then a master’s in women’s health nursing at Wayne State. In addition to her teaching duties, she also serves as a contingent staff nurse at the Birthing Center at Crittenton Hospital Medical Center.
Outstanding public school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at http://bit.ly/ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery’s media partner stations.
Excellence in Education award nominees are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Excellence – Their work consistently helps students and/or their schools or school districts advance to higher levels of academic achievement.
- Dedication – They consistently go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed.
- Inspiration – Their work inspires others around them to exceed expectations either academically or professionally.
- Leadership – They demonstrate clear leadership skills in their positions with their school or school districts
- Effectiveness – The nominee’s work has clear and positive results on the educational advancement of students within the school or school district.