Obama Foundation Fellowship

source attribution and supporting information


Thank you for the opportunity to apply to the inaugural fellowship! I wanted to make sure the publications of those who have devoted their work to understanding this particular ecology were properly attributed. With space so limited in the application, I felt it was necessary to devote one of our URL links to making sure all our sources were listed.























Our community has rallied to support my application, sending me short letters of support. Their kindness truly left me speechless. I would like to thank them all here, and let them know that I truly will do my best to continue to live as they have depicted me.

"My mom, Cheryl, would be great for this program because she is incredibly enthusiastic and hard-working. She is always making sure to motivate the students, and she loves her work. She can come up with positive ways to deal with problems, and is persistent about making her work the best that it can be."

-Emma Riedel

"In my opinion, Cheryl Riedel is synonymous with STEAM initiatives in Scituate. For the 5 years that I have known and worked with Cheryl Riedel in the Scituate Public School System on STEAM initiatives I can say that her passion to ignite enthusiasm for STEAM content for all is contagious!  Her ability to scaffold her vast knowledge of STEAM concepts to any level of learner is impressive!  Her tenacity to do whatever it is to get the job done whatever the road blocks is what every school system needs!  Cheryl in my opinion is one-in-a-million.  She has it all and would be an asset to the civic fellowship."

-Heather Hughes
6th/7th Grade Engineering

"If I was to try and describe you in one or two sentences I would say you are a person with tons of spontaneity, exceptionally creative and always willing to go that extra mile.  There is no job to big or hard for you to tackle. I love that I can call you my friend."

-Kelly Walsh

"Cheryl Reidel is amazingly brilliant, creative, and excellent at not only taking on projects singlehandedly, but also inspires others to think outside the box when collaborating in groups. She's a natural leader that brings out the very best in others."

-Kris Caroll

"Cheryl’s enthusiasm and determination are matched only by her intellect and passion for doing the right thing. She has demonstrated her vision and dedication to community organizing through her many years of effort (and demonstrated outcomes) with the Situate Science Spectacular. Cheryl will be an asset to this fellowship program, and will certainly apply what she learns for the good of her community."

-Ashley Deal

"Cheryl is one of the most intelligent, humorous, articulate and creative people I have ever met...and I went to Harvard.  Her intellect is second only to her emotional IQ.  When I spend any time with Cheryl I am sure to be laughing and learning something new and I leave her company feeling respected, valued and cared for.  I have experienced first hand, Cheryl is a positive mentor and motivator and s relentless, innovative, collaborative problem solver.  Through her founding and ongoing work with Scituate STEAM, Cheryl has radically altered the way kids in Scituate experience and relate to the sciences in a very positive manner.  Cheryl's mission and challenge is to find the best and new ways for diverse groups in our town to gain equal access to community resources.  Cheryl is inclusive in her thinking across all issues, not only race and gender, but economic status, age, religion, physical and mental abilities as well.  She makes a one hundred percent productive, positive, insightful contribution to any and all projects and challenges she tackles.  Cheryl would be a valuable asset and a most worthy recipient of a civic development fellowship."

-Mariah Avallone

"How does a mother of four build a town-wide science and technology exposition? With enthusiasm, a passion for lifelong learning, a keen eye for design and creativity, and hard work! Cheryl Riedel has marshaled the resources of our small community, partnered with school administrators, teachers, parents, students, and local professionals and organizations to design a series of events that clearly connect our community's links to the world of science and technology. She connects people in our community. As a parent volunteer at a number of her events, I am struck by how volunteers and participants alike feel that they have been a valued part of something special. Cheryl Riedel puts the TEAM in STEAM."

-Lisa Grize

"Cheryl is one of the most accomplished, intelligent, humble and kind women I know.  She approaches life in a similar manner that she approaches work - by recognizing a need and developing a solution.  From a grassroots approach, she envisions the long term path to success, puts a plan in place, rolls up her sleeves and gets to work!  Knowing her is infectious, she has as an ability to inspire others to make a difference in the world, no matter how small or big.  I am lucky to know her and proud to call her a friend." 

-Andrea Carson

"I have known Cheryl for more than 20 years.  During our friendship I have time and again witnessed her contributions to the communities around her.  Cheryl is always an active member of any community to which she belongs.  She not only doesn't hesitate to help out, she thrives on helping others and working to make things better."

-Laura Burkhart Demtriou

"During the year 2013-2014 my husband was on sabbatical at Harvard and together with our 2 children we spent a wonderful year in Scituate, MA. We were fortunate to know Cheryl Riedel thanks to her enthusiastic novel initiative of Scituate Science Spectacular, a school district-wide annual celebration of science in education and society. I believe Cheryl, her husband and 4 children had moved to Boston are not long before we met, but I learned about Cheryl's success as a Scituate community organizer and science education innovator before I was fortunate to meet her in person when picking up our children from school.  A Neuroscientist by training and a mom, I could immediately recognize the tremendous value of Chryl's work and many education initiatives. We were fortunate to work together on the second year of Science Spectacular organization. During daily interactions working with community and children I appreciated more and more the tireless energy of Cheryl's multi-talented visionary personality. An artist, a scientist, a community organizer and a super mom,  Cheryl is an able humanist with tremendous energy, talent and desire to make the word a better place. "

-Tatiana Boiko, Ph.D.

"When I think of Cheryl, these things come to mind: generous with her time and resources, easily approachable and friendly, very intelligent without being condescending (she knows A LOT and she never makes me feel like I know less!), willing to work through conflict and committed to teaching her children to do the same, strong woman who is clear about her values and strives to make the world a better place through defending that in which she believes while also being open to learning and understanding about different opinions and ideas. "

-Karen Roche

"Cheryl Riedel is a passionate leader.  I was so impressed with her ability to create, motivate and organize not only a district wide Science fair but an after school to  support students in the STEM area.  Scituate is incredibly blessed to have such generous, talented citizen."

-Ellen Burke


Cheryl’s energy and enthusiasm is the reason behind the great success of Scituate’s STEAM Collaborative. She has logged countless hours, always smiling and uncomplaining and in this manner showing us all what community service really means.


It’s hard to sum you up in two sentences."

-Abigail Yardley

"Cheryl's utterly contagious enthusiasm combined her relentless drive and breathtaking passion is what makes her conquer everything in her path and inspire others to follow in her path."

-Satnam Singh

"To whom it may concern:

Cheryl consistently displays enthusiasm, motivation, dedication to a cause, and a winning attitude.  She is an asset to all organizations and activities in which she is involved.  She has coordinated the Science Spectacular for several years and the Science S-games, and both programs continue to grow greatly each year.  She can always be counted on to get things done with a great attitude and personality.  Cheryl will be a great asset for any organization.

Rick English
Grade 7 Science Teacher
Gates Middle School, Scituate"

"Here’s what I continue to value in you:


1.  your very positive attitude, which directly affects the mood of the project.


2.  your people-centered approach to solving problems.


3.  your “let’s get this done” and self-starter attitude."

-Dan Boyarksi

"Cheryl took the reigns and developed a phenomenal science program for Scituate through partnerships with businesses, motivating parents to give back and her own personal research.  Cheryl is amazing she has inspired hundreds of kids to be future scientist. She's a mom, an artist and a great friend to many. She can even build a deluxe chicken coop.  She makes her a community a better place every day and inspires others to do more."

-Christen Sardano

"I strongly support Cheryl Riedel for a civic development fellowship as she is one of the most resourceful, thoughtful, and inspiring women that I know. Having worked with Cheryl as an instructor and colleague periodically over the past ten years, I can confidently state that if given the opportunity, Cheryl will use the fellowship to improve the lives of people in her community. She is truly a lifelong learner who is passionate about collaborating with others to facilitate positive change. Cheryl has an enormous amount of energy, which she devotes to important causes without hesitations. Cheryl's enthusiasm shines through her behavior and actions, which draws people to her and enables her to realize her goals. I believe that any organization should feel fortunate to have Cheryl championing their efforts."

-Stacie Rohrbach

"Cheryl changed the paradigm of community engagement in our town.  She
created a volunteer driven STEAM enrichment program, developed
mentoring opportunities for students, and energized scientists in the
community to talk about their work, introducing kids to educational
and career possibilities they'd never imagined.  At these events, you
can often hear volunteers and attendees saying "I'm so glad I live in
this town" all due to the spirit the program has engendered among
residents of all ages.

And she made Peter Segal laugh."

-Maura O'Brien

"Your kids are well behaved at a restaurant."

-Sam Greenfield 

"She is REALLY passionate about what she is REALLY passionate about. And she's funny. Choose her."

-Karen Kenyon Lindenfelser 

"She's amazingly passionate about opportunities for all children. And she can spin! yes, I'll participate in the clips if you'll tell me how."

-Ivy Vann 

"There would be no spectacular science (and arts) in Scituate without Cheryl."

-Anne Marie Zellner

"Pure joy exudes from your marvelously small pores...maybe something about your tenacity, humor, and healthy complexion. Seriously, you rock. Just tell 'em that you rock."

-Terri Dautcher 

"Tell them about the amazing movement you have built over the last 6 years...all Scituate students have access to more science because of you. You have already made a difference!!! Feeling a ton of gratitude for you and your boundless efforts. But you need more vacations with wine and cheese free pizza"

-Allison Willcox Guinan

"There's so much to say about you! How can I limit this to a couple of sentences? Cheryl is incredibly smart and very humble. She is not afraid to voice her thoughts and she is also a good listener. She has a vision of what education should like, and she rallied a group of people to foster that vision with all students in mind. People can learn a lot from Cheryl, and I know Cheryl is eager to stretch her skills and knowledge about STEM, education, and meeting the needs of the whole child."

-Darlene McBrine Foley

"Cheryl is a multi-talented, professional, enthusiastic member of our community and we consider ourselves so lucky to have her.  She worked tirelessly to bring our small elementary school's science fair into an all town, all grade program that has since been nationally recognized by Google executives.  Cheryl brings her leadership, vision, and willingness to serve in such a natural and humble way.  I wholeheartedly recommend her for your Civic development fellowship."

-Vicki and Walter Murray

"Cheryl has galvanized an entire town around the idea of being excited about science.  In a small town that is crazy about sports, Cheryl’s science fair provides an opportunity where I can go to the high school and be surrounded by people who care about something other than sports!  And, of course, it’s not just Cheryl’s science fair.  She has pulled together a team of committed individuals who make this amazing event happen.  And it just keeps getting better every year.  Cheryl is passionate and motivates others to be passionate.  She is creative, funny, quirky, and energetic.  She’d be a great addition to any group that is trying to foster civic engagement.


Ring the bells that still can ring.

       - Leonard Cohen"

-Jean Schildneck

"Cheryl is a true asset to our community. As a public librarian, I feel especially fortunate to collaborate with a person who feels as passionately about equal access to information, learning, and knowledge as I do. Cheryl works continuously to eliminate as many barriers to STEM opportunities as possible for students in our community and beyond. Each year she and her team of volunteers work to improve upon and expand their highly successful STEM learning model and each year our library looks forward to assisting those goals. Cheryl's passion and commitment is unparalleled."

-Ann Lattinville, MLIS

Scituate Town Library 

"Your energy, perseverance, resourcefulness, and intelligence, have made  you an instrumental force towards giving STEAM a platform in our community. Working with parents, town and school leaders, and community members, you have taken what was a little school Science Fair at Wampatuck and created a district-wide and community movement for Science, Engineering and Math. The Sci Spectacular holds a special spot on the community calendar annually due to your outreach and commitment.  By making use of student mentors, community based specialists, and coordinating with the MA Frameworks and curriculum leaders, you have made the’ Sci Spec ‘ an opportunity for project based learning that is relevant and meaningful for students and adults. Beyond the ‘Sci Spec’, you have reached out towards after school and in-school programming to make Science come alive. Your positivity, enthusiasm, and open-mindedness, have encouraged others to embrace STEAM as we move towards growing our Science/Math/Engineering initiatives.”

-Linda Whitney

Principle, Wampatuck Elementary School

“Cheryl’s great gift is that she matches enthusiasm with accomplishment.  As one of the founders of Scituate STEAM Collaborative, Cheryl worked tirelessly to turn the vision of a district-wide science fair into a reality.  The Science Spectacular now is one of the premier events in the town.  And this unabashed success was not enough; Cheryl leveraged the energy and accomplishment of the Science Spectacular to develop more opportunities to engage students through science.  She launched the S-Games and a science mentoring program to diversify the ways in which could be engaged by science.

So the qualities are steadfast commitment, dependable energy, and the ability to execute, even in the face of challenges.”

-Ryan Lynch

Principle, Gates Middle School

"To the Fellowship Application Committee
   I have know Cheryl Riedel as the parent of a 4th grade student, Jonah,  in my classroom last yea,r and via leadership role in the district promoting the Science Spectacular and other STEM related activities.  And her family adopted more than ten chickens from my class embryology project last year to my great relief and appreciation!
    It is without hesitation that I recommend Mrs. Riedel for the fellowship.  She is an inspiration to us all, and quite a supportive parent."

-Tim McAlarney

Teacher, Wampatuck Elementary School

"You are one of the most creative, enthusiastic, inspirational and kind people I know. You encourage others to be their best and show true empathy and concern when they struggle. You always see the good. You are forever learning something new and taking on whatever it is with gusto and humor. You aren't afraid to fail and know how to ask for help. You are truly on of my favorites "

-Alexa Anthony

"You have

The tenacity to power through difficult situations.

The wisdom to thoroughly examine and research, if need be, the options before making a decision.


The ability to have and reach out to resources to help you with information.


The skills to effectively organize and coordinate with others.


The blood of a Moldarian Death Spider.


The spine of the Mighty Oak of The Ages.

And all of the lobsters."

-Moose Finklestein

"Cheryl is a tireless creator of opportunity. The Scituate STEAM Collaborative - her brainchild - is an exemplar of community-based, hands-on STEM learning. It's Cheryl's vision, creativity, seemingly endless reserve of energy, and her ability to bring together individuals and resources that powered the creation of this organization. STEAM Collab has created a community of professional and budding scientists here, and it is a delight to witness. "

-Tracy Shepard

"You're someone who thinks of contributions to the community not just as a project but as a way to conduct your life and raise your family. SciSpec is just one of those many things - taking your children to the opening of the new library in Scituate, because libraries are such a core part of a community and you've taught your children to love reading so much; road tripping to D.C. for the Science march, because it's fun, you've shared your love of science with your family, and it's a way to ensure science funding for the community continues; and of course there's SciSpec! You're one of those amazing people that I'm drawn to - you get a fire in your belly about the things you believe in, and get personally offended when those things aren't done well, or in the best interests of the community. This passion isn't a project you do on Tuesday nights, it's the way you live your life!

If these fellowship people don't pick you, I'll be personally offended!"

-Hilary Packer

"I have had the honor of knowing Cheryl Reidyl professionally for about 4 years. She is a vital Advisory board member of the Design and Visual Communications shop at South Shore Vocational Technical High School. For years, she has made vital recommendations for the program in which I teach suggesting equipment, curriculum and creative solutions in my classroom."

-Carolyn Rutkowski

"Cheryl Riedel exemplifies the definition of what civic responsibility is through her volunteer experience for the Scituate Public Schools. Through her creation and continued dedication to the STEAM collaborative, Cheryl has reached teachers, students, parents, and community members to educate them on various topics and issues in our local community. She would be a great addition to your fellowship program, and would bring the knowledge and skills gained from this experience back to her community to enhance our local programs. Please consider her to be a very strong candidate for your Fellowship Program."
-Kathy Elich
Science Department Chair
Scituate Public Schools

“Cheryl is a deeply invested community member that keeps collaboration and mentoring central to anything she is involved with.  Her work ethic is tireless as her passion for meaningful student enrichment opportunities and community networks are at the core of her efforts.  Cheryl’s ambition and perspectives makes those around her more effective in their roles/responsibilities.”

-Greg Ranieri

"I’ve known Cheryl as a neighbor, friend, and mother of my son’s best friend, and she is wonderful at all of these things. However, I have also gotten to know her civic-mindedness through her work creating and significantly expanding the Scituate STEAM collaborative. I’ve been involved with the collaborative since it’s start in 2012, as a parent with children in the program, as a presenter to high school students, and this last year hosting a booth about my scientific research. This is a phenomenal program, and Cheryl’s vision and her ability to inspire others to develop a truly community-wide program that now provides mentorship and education in STEAM nearly year-round has been a key factor in the success of the collaborative. I think Cheryl is an exceptionally worthy person to receive this fellowship."

-Dr. Carol Anne Clayson

Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

"When I think of Cheryl, I think of what a strong, confident, smart, witty woman she is.  She's a real doer; a hardworker that has big ideas and does whatever it takes to bring these ideas alive."

-Patty Thompson

"Very Organized 





Accepts uniqueness and individuality in children, students and all people around her.


Approaches Parenting and Teaching from a “Build upon Strengths Point of View”

Works for the Greater Good"

-Tracey Timmins

"I've known Cheryl since 2001 when we both worked at Carnegie Mellon University. Cheryl is a remarkable human being in that she possesses a uniquely creative view. Her approaches to tackling initiatives are often shaped by this view, and therefore she always finds interesting and unique solutions to problems that other people don't necessarily see. "

-Chenxi Wang


Scituate STEAM Collaborative = Science + Technology + Engineering + Arts + Math

© 2017 Scituate STEAM Collaborative