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TODAY! STEMinar: REACH Challenge: A STEM Project that Changes Lives

September 16, 2019


STEM Education Best Practices STEMinar:

REACH Challenge: A STEM Project that Changes Lives


Tuesday, September 17th @ 7:00 (EST) 

ITEEA’s Reach Challenge is an impactful Adaptive & Assistive Technology design-thinking project for middle school, high school, and college programs. Teachers will enable their students to work with their User-Expert “client” to identify a specific challenge and create a viable adaptive or assistive technological solution to this problem. Projects can then be submitted to ITEEA for an opportunity to earn awards for their school.

In this STEMinar, participants will gain a thorough understanding of the REACH Challenge registration and submission process, the Educators Toolkit, and the benefits of participating in this program. Hear first-hand the life-changing impact REACH Challenge can make, not only in your community, but in the lives of your students when they use their STEM skills in a real-world application to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

Gavin Wood has been a STEM educator for 17 years and holds a Masters in Education. His focus on engineering for social good, design-thinking, and developing an ecosystem of innovation with his students has earned him numerous recognitions, including the FIRST Robotics Woodie Flowers Finalist Award, the ITEEA Teacher Excellence Award, and the Lawrence W. Prakken Professional Cooperation Award.

As the STEAM Director for The Barstow School in Kansas City, Wood designs curriculum that reinforces user-centered design and the “empathy” part of the Engineering Design process. In his role as head coach of a world-championship level FIRST Robotics team (FRC Team 1939), Wood developed a global partnership with GoBabyGo, which creates adaptive technology to help children with mobility challenges. Wood founded and operates an online forum (, connecting families in need with GoBabyGo chapters worldwide, and provides how-to manuals to teach others how to make adaptive technology for children in their communities.

To encourage more STEM programs to incorporate adaptive technology projects into their curriculum, Wood and his wife, Andrea, collaborated with ITEEA on the creation and launch of REACH Challenge, an impactful Adaptive & Assistive Technology design-thinking project for middle school, high school, and college students.


Andrea Wood is an award-winning journalist, graphic designer, and former newspaper editor, who received her degree in Public Relations and Graphic Design from the University of Central Missouri. She currently serves as the President of the UCM Student Publications Board, and Secretary of the UCM Digital Media Production Advisory Board, mentoring college students entering a variety of communication fields.

Wood’s passion for mentorship has impacted students from elementary school through college. In her favorite role, as a mom, Wood has been a Room Parent and coordinator for seven years. For 10 years, Wood has volunteered as a mentor for several FIRST Robotics teams. Her work with FRC Team 1939 helped guide the team to earn three NASA-sponsored Engineering Inspiration Awards and two Chairman’s Awards. Wood also helps coordinate and facilitate the team’s partnership with GoBabyGo!

Inspired by these experiences, Wood and her husband, Gavin, co-founded Iterate Innovations LLC, to assist and support a variety of STEM education endeavors, including collaborating with ITEEA on the launch of REACH Challenge.