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Congratulations to Mary Clark, the 2014 First Place Winner. She was presented with her award on October 30, and now she can put the $27,000 grant to work in the classroom. Previously, Patti Shaffer and Meredith Mooney were presented with the 2014 Second and Third Place Awards respectively.

"Biotech Learning and Earning" is designed to expose the school’s underserved population of high school students to a state-of-the-art advanced science course that will improve their knowledge about, skills for, and application in biotechnology. Using the classroom laboratories and leveraging the school’s partnership at a local university and hospital, students engage in advanced biotech activities. For example, students perform DNA extractions and practice techniques working alongside research scientists. These laboratory experiences enhance students’ opportunities for scholarships and work-study programs to help offset college tuition while providing real-world experience and insight into career opportunities. Students will also become knowledgeable and practiced consumers of scientific research and experience how biotechnology can benefit them personally, their families, and the community at large.

Are you an educator with a class project that is short on funding but long on potential? Do you know a teacher looking for grant dollars? Voya Unsung Heroes™ (formerly ING Unsung Heroes) could help you turn great ideas into reality for students.

For more than 15 years, and with more than $4 million in awarded grants, Voya Unsung Heroes has proven to be an A+ program with educators. The program’s “alumni” have inspired success in the classroom and impacted countless numbers of students.

Voya Unsung Heroes began in 1995 as a way for Voya Financial® (formerly ING U.S) to demonstrate its commitment to the education community. Grants are given to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning.

Each year, educators submit applications for a Voya Unsung Heroes grant by describing projects they have initiated or would like to pursue. Each project is judged on its:

  • Innovative method
  • Creativity
  • Ability to positively influence the students

Each year, 100 finalists are selected to receive a $2,000 grant, payable to both the winning teacher and his or her school. At least one grant is awarded in each of the 50 states, provided at least one qualified application was received from each state. Winners are selected by Scholarship America, a national non-profit educational support and student aid service organization.

Of the 100 finalists, three are selected for additional financial awards: $25,000 for first place; $10,000 for second place; and $5,000 for third place. The top winners are selected by the Educators Advisory Board, consisting of six distinguished educators from across the United States.

If you or someone you know leads or has an idea for an outstanding educational project, we encourage you to apply for the Voya Unsung Heroes program today. To complete the online application visit

Contact Scholarship America via email or by phone at (800) 537-4180. Or ask your local representative for more information. The deadline for applications is April 30. Winners are announced in the fall.