Cristo Rey Alumna Earns a STEMMy

Mikayla Bridgewater Honored as Trailblazer
Posted on 08/16/2019
Mikayla Bridgewater

Imagine: the first day of school at Cristo Rey Kansas City in the fall of 2012. Before the first bell, freshmen are milling around, clumping and renewing friendships paused. They came from the more than 30 sending middle schools. Some are lost. Some are shy. Some are confused. Not Mikayla Bridgewater.  

The first day turned into the first week, and so on. Pretty soon, the entire school knew Mikayla Bridgewater.  Her Algebra teacher tapped her in the classroom to re-teach math concepts to other students.  Her Physics teacher had someone that he knew always had a question. Very quickly, Bridgewater was using technology to explain and demonstrate higher level learning to peers 24/7. Class Valedictorian, recipient of the National Horatio Alger Scholarship and Dell Scholars of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and admission into a School of Engineering were no surprises to those who had taught her. 

Recently, the Central Exchange selected ten area women for the 6th Annual STEMMy Awards. Mikayla Bridgewater, CRKC 2016 and current student at the University of Kansas, is among the honorees. The award celebrates Kansas City’s women in STEMM -science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. The official awards presentations will take place on Sept. 19 at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, in Kansas City.

While women comprise half the workforce, they only are 24 percent of Kansas City’s STEMM workforce. Recognition plays a significant role in efforts to recruit and retain women in STEMM. In receiving this award, Bridgewater earned her place at the table with a distinguished group of women and civic leaders.

  • Groundbreaking Leadership ~ Wendy Hageman, Burns & McDonnell and Eva Karp, Cerner

  • Rising Trendsetter ~ Amber Stone, BlueCross BlueShield and Kellyann Jones-Jamtgaard, PrepKC

  • Enterprising Innovator ~ Panela Leung, Generation Maker Lab

  • WiSTEMM Champion ~ Cheryl Cooper, Sprint

  • WiSTEMM Educator ~ Lesley Martin, Staley High School and Yugyung Lee, Ph.D, UMKC 

  • Student Achiever ~ Mikayla Bridgewater, University of Kansas 

  • Corporate Hero ~ Kiewit 

    Celebrating these women matters,” said Courtney Thomas, President & CEO of Central Exchange. “Women in STEMM are drastically under-represented in our region. The STEMMys give Kansas City’s trailblazing women the platform and visibility they deserve.” 

    “I am thrilled – and, not surprised – that Mikayla is being recognized with such a high honor,” said Cristo Rey Principal Michael Padow. “Mikayla has a self-starting attitude, is intrinsically motivated. and is intellectually curious about what makes things work. We are so very proud of her,” he said.  

    Watch Mikayla's personal statement on earning a STEMMy.


    About Cristo Rey Kansas City
    Cristo Rey Kansas City is part of the network of 37  Cristo Rey high schools that break the cycle of poverty through education and work experience. Cristo Rey Kansas City provides a Catholic, college prep education enhanced by an innovative corporate work study program to culturally diverse students with economic need. The model of education equips students to see past their urban roots towards college and beyond.


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