Amir Muhsin Abo-Shaeer
Born (1972-03-20) March 20, 1972 (age 50)
São Paulo, Brazil
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (B.S. 1996, M.S. 1998, M.Ed. 2001)
Spouse(s)Emily Shaeer
Parent(s)Muhsin Abo-Shaeer, Anita Bradford Abo-Shaeer
Engineering career
Employer(s)Santa Barbara School Districts
ProjectsDos Pueblos Engineering Academy
AwardsMacArthur Fellowship (2010)

Amir Muhsin Abo-Shaeer (born March 20, 1972) is an American teacher and mechanical engineer. In 2001, during his first year of teaching, he established the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) on the Dos Pueblos High School campus. In addition to being the Director of the DPEA, he teaches physics, engineering, robotics, machining and manufacturing. His focused outreach efforts have yielded 50% female student enrollment in the DPEA. He also ran FRC Team 1717 as part of the academy program. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010. He is the first high school teacher to win the award, as well as the first FIRST mentor to win the award for work relating to FIRST robotics.[1][2][3]

Early life and education

Shaeer was born in São Paulo, Brazil, where his father was teaching physics at the university. Before his first birthday, his family returned to Santa Barbara, California, where he has resided ever since.[4]

He graduated from Dos Pueblos High School and attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a B.S. in physics, a M.S. in mechanical engineering, and a M.Ed. in secondary education.[1][5]


Shaeer began his career as a mechanical engineer in the private sector. He worked on research and development in academia, aerospace, and telecommunications before deciding to pursue a career in education.[1] Early on, he taught physics, wrote curriculum, and developed courses for the DPEA. He eventually decided that the capstone course for the senior class would revolve around the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC), which requires students to design and construct a 120-pound (54 kg) robot to compete against other robots in a game challenge that is different every year. The DPEA is known as Team 1717 in the FIRST community.[6]

In 2007, he garnered a $3 million California state matching grant to create a 12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) engineering facility on the high school campus to support the implementation of the Career Technical Education (CTE) curriculum he created.[7] The building opened in October 2011 and is currently in use.[8]

On September 29, 2010, Congresswoman Lois Capps congratulated him on the floor of the United States House of Representatives for winning the MacArthur Fellowship.[9][10]

Personal life

Shaeer and his wife, Emily, have a daughter, Aliya Shaeer.[11]


The New York Times-bestselling author Neal Bascomb wrote a book chronicling Abo-Shaeer’s teaching and his 2009 FIRST robotics team’s competition season. The New Cool was released on March 1, 2011.[12]



  1. ^ a b c d "Amir Abo-Shaeer - MacArthur Fouundation". MacArthur Foundation. Archived from the original on 1 October 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Amir". Dos Pueblos High School. Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  3. ^ NASA TV FRC Kickoff Broadcast - Archived - Captioned. NASA TV. FIRST. 8 January 2011.
  4. ^ "The New Cool Excerpt". Crown Publishing.
  5. ^ "Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy - FIRST Robotics Team 1717 - Teachers". Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. Archived from the original on 1 October 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  6. ^ "What Events And Teams Are In My Area? - 1717". FIRST. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  7. ^ "DPEA Foundation New Facility Elings Center for Engineering Education". DPEA Foundation. Archived from the original on 2010-10-04. Retrieved 28 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Dos Pueblos High Dedicates Its New Elings Center for Engineering Education". Noozhawk. 1 October 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Congratulating Amir Abo-Shaeer". Retrieved 30 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Congressional Record - 111th Congress (2009-2010) - THOMAS (Library of Congress)". 2009-05-20. Retrieved 2010-09-30.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "DP Teacher Wins Genius Grant". 28 September 2010.
  12. ^ "The New Cool". Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  13. ^ "2011 Los Angeles Regional Awards". FIRST. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23.
  14. ^ "Distinguished Educators - PGA Foundations". PGA Foundation. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Distinguished Alumni Award". USCB Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Marvin Melvin Career Technical Educator Award Recipients". SBCEO Portal. Archived from the original on 2015-01-17. Retrieved 13 January 2015.