A dedicated proponent for Native Americans in the sciences

Chickasaw citizen Teri Centner is using her lifelong love of science and math to help youth succeed in these advanced fields. Teri is a mentor and coach for First Lego League (FLL), which encourages students to have fun and to collaborate while building their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. She's involved with the VA-DC chapter, which is the largest FLL group in the world with over 600 teams and more than 20 regional qualifying tournament and events in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Teri says encouraging young people in the STEM fields means to her that "our country will stay on the forefront of innovation and new thinking." She enjoys seeing kids' eyes light up when they witness something they've built – it gives her hope for the future to be assisting today's youth in becoming tomorrow's leaders.

An IT Specialist for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Teri holds a B.S. degree in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, a software systems engineering graduate certificate from George Mason University, an MBA in military management from Touro University International and an M.S. in management of information technology from the University of Virginia.

Her advice to aspiring scientists, engineers and mathematicians is to never stop reaching for their goals – she believes there are a lot of opportunities out there for youth, and for Native American youth in particular, who pursue their dreams.