The inaugural 2023 Spark Award was presented to Ash Kunz, STEM Service Manager for the NCW Libraries. The award was presented by Barbara Walters, Executive Director for the NCW Libraries.
The Spark Award, newly introduced this year, celebrates individuals who possess a unique vision and skill set for curating transformative experiences that leave a lasting impact on students. These visionaries are pioneers who illuminate the path for students, igniting their enthusiasm and setting them on a trajectory of success. Through their creativity, dedication, and commitment to excellence, recipients of the Spark Award have positively influenced the lives of countless students, leaving an indelible legacy that will shape the future leaders, innovators, and changemakers.
This year, Kunz is recognized for the exceptional ability to create unforgettable experiences for students. Whether it’s organizing station activities, facilitating Hour of Code sessions, leading STEM clubs, or curating event series such as the 2023 Tech and Tiaras, Kunz ensures that career-connected learning events have the power to inspire and leave a profound mark on literally hundreds of youth across the region.
Barabara Walters, Executive Director of the North Central Washington Libraries shared that community partners like NCW Libraries, play a crucial role in fostering collaboration across the diverse communities in the region. With a background in education and environment with a focus on Social Justice, Kunz has worked tirelessly to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in programming. They understand the transformative power of inspiration in shaping the lives of students. Walters added, “They are a truly exemplary community leader and bring a wealth of experience to the library.”
Tami McBride, Career Connected Learning Specialist at North Central ESD said that Kunz’s unwavering support and dedication for career connected learning and STEM education has been invaluable this last year.
“Ash’s commitment to blending elements of STEM education, personal growth, and pure joy results in experiences that combine excitement and fun with thought-provoking content,” said McBride. “These carefully curated events spark curiosity, encourage exploration, and foster a passion for lifelong learning.”
Kunz’s attention to detail and ability to create powerful moments have a profound influence on the lives of students; and because of that attention to detail, hundreds of young learners in North Central Washington have had opportunities for growth, empowerment, and inspiration. Each of these moments has provided a chance for students to discover their passions, explore new possibilities, and embrace their full potential.