Western NC teachers awarded Kenan fellowships to advance STEM education thanks to Meta support

Adam Chacon headshot on a gray background.
Adam Chacon

FOREST CITY, N.C. –Two K-12 educators from Western North Carolina have been selected for Kenan Fellowships to elevate STEM education in their school districts. Adam Chacon of Henderson County Schools and Carrie Dobbins of Cleveland County Schools will collaborate with local conservation agencies to integrate nature-based learning and outdoor experiences into their curricula. 

Supported by a donation from Meta, this STEM education initiative represents the fifth consecutive year of Meta’s support for the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership at N.C. State University. Meta, an integral part of the Western North Carolina community since 2010, continues its dedication to fostering industry-education partnerships that enrich student learning.

Adam Chacon, a Spanish teacher at Henderson High School, will collaborate with Conserving Carolina. His fellowship will include training and skills development alongside AmeriCorps Summer of Service members. This immersive experience aims to instill teamwork, and environmental stewardship and introduce participants to potential educational and career paths.

“I always encourage my students to volunteer and contribute to our community. This fellowship allows me to lead by example, diving deeper into local opportunities,” Chacon said.

Headshot of Carrie Dobbins on a gray background.
Carrie Dobbins

Carrie Dobbins, a science teacher at Burns High School, will collaborate with Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS). Her fellowship will explore the 1964 Wilderness Act and its role in preserving natural spaces for future generations. Dobbins will visit local parks, trails, and wilderness areas to bring nature experiences to her students.

“As a science teacher, I strive to make lessons relevant and engaging. Sharing first-hand experiences will bring added authenticity to my classroom,” Dobbins shared.

Kenan Fellowships are competitive awards for K-12 educators statewide and feature professional learning institutes emphasizing workforce education, community engagement, and leadership development. Teachers like Chacon and Dobbins continue their school roles throughout the yearlong fellowship and apply newfound knowledge in real time.

“With the support of industry partners like Meta, we empower teachers to build strong industry-education collaborations that align classroom content with essential workforce skills,” said Vance Kite, director of the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership.