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News Release 99-025

New Teacher Award Honors NSF Program Director

April 16, 1999

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Two teachers have been honored with the first of a one-of-a-kind award for K-12 science teachers. Don Berthiaume (Biddeford High School, Biddeford, Me.), and Pattyanne Corsentino (Place Middle School, Denver, Colo.) received the Lawrence A. Scadden Outstanding Teacher Award of the Year for Students With Disabilities for their work to engage all students--particularly those with disabilities--in learning science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The award is named after Lawrence A. Scadden, the National Science Foundation's (NSF) senior program director of the Program for Persons With Disabilities.

Scadden is an internationally renowned scientist who has specialized in design of technology applications for people with disabilities. Scadden is blind. This new award was created in his honor by the Regional Alliance of Science, Engineering and Mathematics for Students with Disabilities (RASEM) and by Science Education for Students With Disabilities (SESD), a Special Interest Group of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Science educators across the nation were informed of the award last year. A selection committee chose two finalists in February. Each received a check, certificate and plaque at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association meeting in Boston, Mass., on March 27, 1999. Scadden was the honored guest at the ceremony.

The inaugural Outstanding Science Teacher of 1999 is Don Berthiaume. Berthiaume received a $1,000 check. Pattyanne Corsentino is the Meritorious Science Teacher and received a $500 check.

Berthiaume received NSF's Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award. He is a past president of the Maine Science Teachers Association.

Berthiaume works on an NSF-supported Biotechnology Works! project at the University of Southern Maine, which has earned a national reputation for providing both intellectual and personal challenges in a supportive and safe environment. Berthiaume developed equipment that allows students with disabilities to be included successfully in the science laboratory.

At Place Middle School in Denver, Colo., Corsentino won praise for facilitating access to environmental science for all students. She has been an exemplary leader in the South Platte River Club, a major mission of which is to improve handicap accessibility to the river for water quality monitoring. For the last three years, her students have put on Outdoor Adventure for hundreds of elementary school children who come to learn about the urban natural environment. Her current project, Our Place on Cherry Creek, involves all Denver Public Schools students in environmental experiences.


Biographical Information on Lawrence Scadden

Born in California in 1939 and blinded at the age of five in a household accident, Scadden showed an early interest in technology when he became active in ham radio. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Redlands, but his love of science and technology took him into psychology at the University of the Pacific where he concentrated on human perception. In 1968, Larry received his master's degree in experimental psychology and took a position at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, researching the application of technology to relieve the problems of people with visual or auditory impairments. Larry received his doctorate there in 1971, becoming an internationally recognized expert. He was appointed in 1979 as deputy director of a newly created federal agency (now an office within the Department of Education) on disability research. He was invited to head NSF's initiative on persons with disabilities in 1991, and has done so since.

Media Contacts
K. Lee Herring, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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