PA Cyber
Seven individuals pose holding their Poly Awards in front of a PA Cyber-branded backdrop.

PA Cyber Polytechnic Academy Honors Students, Faculty and Community Partners

April 19, 2024

For the second year in a row, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School’s (PA Cyber) Polytechnic Academy recognized 13 recipients for its Poly Awards during two individual award ceremonies in Warrendale, PA, and Harrisburg, PA, this week.

The Poly Awards celebrate students who have demonstrated excellent participation as well as staff, universities, and education partners who have grown the school’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming in the past year. The Award also serves as a symbol of the recipient's impact and a reminder of the importance of continued innovation and progress. Each recipient was nominated for the award and a committee voted to select the final winners.

“We’re thrilled to once again recognize our students, faculty and community partners who have contributed to enhancing our STEM programming,” said Supervisor of STEM Education Tom Brambley. “It’s an exciting field that’s always evolving; we want to acknowledge their passion and encourage continued momentum among our recipients.”


  • Ethan Zimmer, Elementary School Student of the Year
  • Abrar Shafi Mohammed, Middle School Student of the Year
  • Cheyenne Brewer, High School Student of the Year
  • Steve Luciano, Carnegie Science Center, Partner of the Year, Training & Support
  • Little Medical School, Partner of the Year, Program Provider
  • Laura St. Onge, Club Advisor of the Year
  • Ben Babington, Workshop Advisor of the Year
  • Shannon Sanders, Volunteer of the Year


  • Jill Yeakel, Harrisburg University, Partner of the Year, Higher Education
  • Da Vinci Science Center, Partner of the Year, Program Provider
  • Howard Hiester, Advocate of the Year, Regional Representative
  • Amber Klunk, Support Personnel of the Year
  • Family Link Team, Advocate of the Year, Family Link

Of note from the list of recipients in the Harrisburg region is Jill Yeakel, a forensic science lecturer at Harrisburg University (HU). PA Cyber recognized her with a Poly Award for her commitment to collaborating with the K-12 school to provide high-quality polytechnic opportunities for students.

“This award confirms for the broader public what we at HU know to be true: Jill Yeakel is a terrific leader wherever she serves," said HU Provost Cameron J. McCoy, Ph.D. "Her work with PA Cyber has a tremendous and positive impact on the local and regional educational community. Professor Yeakel’s mentorship in and out of the classroom is tireless and reflects her deep commitment to creating accessible STEM futures for communities across the Commonwealth. We remain grateful to PA Cyber for this esteemed recognition of partnership and to Jill for her work growing the next generation of learners and leaders.”

PA Cyber’s Polytechnic Academy and its three mobile labs located across the state offer engaging opportunities for all students and faculty members who work with education partners in the local community to develop fun, educational curriculum. From spin art to small scale food pantries to bike racks, the projects the Academy students have completed run the gamut within the field of engineering.

“We want to teach our students early on in their academic journey that the field of STEM has a limitless number of possibilities, and we want to recognize those who have contributed enthusiastically to this field,” said PA Cyber CEO Brian Hayden. “We’ve already seen the impact our programming can have on influencing our students to pursue internships and careers within the fields of STEM.”

The Poly Award is a recognition of achievement and a celebration of creativity, curiosity, and perseverance. The Award stands as a crystalline pentagon; as light reflects off the surface, it creates a kaleidoscope of colors, representing the multifaceted nature of STEM. Each angle offers a different perspective, just as each person brings unique skills and insights to the field.

Two woman and a man post holding their respective awards.
From left to right: Jill Yeakel, Howard Heister, and Amber Klunk

See more photos from each award ceremony here.

Media Contact

Jennie Harris /

About PA Cyber

Serving students in kindergarten through 12th grade, the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is one of the largest, most experienced, and most successful online public schools in the nation. PA Cyber’s online learning environments, personalized instructional methods, and curricula choices connect Pennsylvania students and families with state-certified and highly qualified teachers and rich academic content aligned to state standards. Founded in 2000, PA Cyber is headquartered in Midland (Beaver County) and maintains a network of support offices throughout the state. As a public school, PA Cyber is open for enrollment to any school-age child residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and does not charge tuition to students or families.

The Poly Award is a pentagon-shaped crystal with "PA Cyber Polytechnic Academy Awards" etched into the front.

The Poly Award is a recognition of achievement and a celebration of creativity, curiosity, and perseverance.