May STEMstar Recipient Announced


Ripley County, Indiana – Genesis: Pathways to Success (GPS) presents the May STEMstar, Clarisse Zigan!

“Clarisse goes above and beyond in every class, but especially her science, math and engineering classes. She also has a very witty sense of humor and is really fun to have in class,” said Max Howard, her Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Sciences instructor.

Clarisse is a junior at South Ripley High School and maintains a 3.96 GPA. She is in the third year of the biomedical sciences program, where she won the 2017 Bioengineering Challenge with a bionic arm she designed and demonstrated at the competition.  She is enrolled in the fourth and final PLTW biomed course for her senior year. Clarisse also attends the Ripley County Engineering Academy.

According to Paul Thole, Ripley County Engineering Academy instructor, “She is a great example of a student who has ‘learned how to learn.’  Clarisse is a very talented engineering student and loves a challenge.  She often goes beyond the requirements of the project … way beyond!  A great example of ingenuity and hard work, she will be a great engineer!”

Clarisse was recently named a top Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics student in Indiana. She is a member of South Ripley’s math and science academic teams, is an EcO Network student ambassador, participated in a Conexus internship last summer at MSW Packaging, and was selected to attend the Richard Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

“It is exciting to see Clarisse taking advantage of the opportunities provided in our PLTW biomed and engineering programs,” South Ripley Superintendent Rob Moorhead said. “She is certainly a very impressive young lady and a great representative of South Ripley. She has a bright future indeed.”

Clarisse is undecided about her career interests and currently is leaning toward bioengineering or neurology. An opportunity to job shadow with a neurologist is on her schedule for the end of the school year.

Clarisse also runs cross-country and track on South Ripley’s teams. She is active in many school clubs, has completed six community service projects in the last couple of years and is a member of Ripley Youth Outreach, an initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation.

GPS began the STEMstar program in January 2017 to recognize students and educators who are making strides in STEM. To nominate a STEMstar, please fill out the STEMstar form at

Genesis: Pathways to Success (GPS) is an initiative of the Ripley County Community Foundation dedicated to empowering students to succeed in STEM by developing programs in areas such as engineering, agriculture, health science and technology as well as by supporting events that encourage students to apply curious minds and critical thinking skills to real-world opportunities. GPS generates ongoing and meaningful dialogue and collaboration to prepare a talent pipeline for a globally dynamic marketplace. For additional information, please visit

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