Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the engineer, NASA scientist, teacher, robotics youth coach, and Louisana native, Donald G. Prier.
Donald Prier is an engineering teacher and robotics coach at Spring Woods High School in Houston, Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in education. And a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University. He began his career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. A chance encounter with an old friend changed the course of Mr. Prier’s career. He left his engineering job and went back to school, a high school that is. In 2000, he and Jeneva Westendorf, an English teacher at Foothill High School in San Jose, Calif., lead Robotics Team 255 to a first place victory in the U.S. First Robotics Competition Championship. Donald Prier is also a National Science Foundation (NSF) – Robert Noyce STEM Fellowship recipient.
After his intial success out West, he would return to the South. To continue to share his passion for science, engineering, and robotics with youth in Texas. He would help find two Spring Woods Robotics Clubs. The teams discovered some spare robotic parts around the Spring Woods High campus, Prier’s club last year was awarded $12,500 in grants and related funds, making it possible to enter the Texas State Robotics League. Mr. Prier also serves as an aerospace and engineering design teacher at the same school. He serves a community that is often overlooked for its raw potential and scientific curiosity amongst its young people.
He and the bright students he coaches at Spring Woods have started to win these days. In March 2019, the Spring Wood High School Robotics Clubs won the Rookie Inspiration Award at the FIT District Greenville Event and the Rookie All-Star Award at the FIT District Channelview Event. Despite the challenges his students face outside the classroom daily, Donald Prier still manages to encourage his students to thrive, and in turn, they inspire him. Here is Donald Prier in his own words building confidence and accomplishment in youth people:
“The most beautiful thing is that, when a kid that has never driven a robot before, all he does is play video games, he built this robot that’s supposed to do something and it does it really well. And all of a sudden, he’s beating everybody. You see that excitement, it just exudes.”
We at the Evolving Man Project wish the Spring Wood High School Robotics Club much more future success. Today we honor Donald G. Prier as our Evolved Man of the Week.