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News Release 15-086

President Obama honors top math and science teachers

Recipients of presidential awards meet leaders in science, engineering and education; take advantage of professional development activities

PAEMST awardees at NSF


The awardees are shown at NSF headquarters.
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August 7, 2015

More than 100 recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) were honored this past week in Washington, D.C. Their experiences during the week were highlighted on social media.

These awards are the highest honor bestowed by the government on K-12 mathematics and science teachers in the U.S. The National Science Foundation (NSF) receives recommendations from states and territories of some of their best and most inspiring teachers for the award. NSF reviews the submissions and forwards recommendations to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). On July 1, President Obama announced this latest group of awardees.

We had a chance to talk briefly with several of them about how they make math and science real for their students. Watch their interviews on our YouTube site.

This year's awardees, all 7-12th grade teachers, received $10,000 from NSF and an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to experience three days of exciting and memorable activities. Some highlights:

  • A series of professional development sessions, including one on teacher leadership with Jay Labov, senior advisor from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
  • A special dinner where awardees were joined by Jo Handelsman, associate director for science from OSTP.
  • A day at NSF to learn more about the agency's cross-cutting science and engineering research and education endeavors. Awardees engaged in foundation-supported activities related to: the International Year of Light; Making and Learning; Big Data; Diversity and Inclusion; Understanding the Brain; and Exploring Earth and Cosmos. Awardees had the opportunity to hear from and to speak to Nobel Laureate William Phillips from the University of Maryland; OSTP's Chief Data Scientist Dhanurjay “DJ” Patil; nationally-recognized teacher workforce expert Richard Ingersoll from the University of Pennsylvania; other guest speakers and NSF staff.
  • An awards ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building, where NSF Director France Córdova and OSTP's Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith addressed the teachers. Almost 400 guests were present, including Congressman Mike Honda of California.
  • A meeting with S. James Gates, John S. Toll Professor of Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park, and member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
  • Professional development activities led by OSTP at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
  • A visit to the White House where the teachers were personally congratulated by President Barack Obama.
  • A breakfast with several alumni leaders, such as Carolyn Hayes, past PAEMST awardee and current president of the National Science Teachers Association.

NSF has had the honor of administering the PAEMST program on behalf of OSTP since 1983. Awards alternate between K-6 and 7-12 grade teachers each year. Applications for K-6 grade teachers open in the fall. Nominations are accepted at www.paemst.org.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Maria C. Zacharias, NSF, (703) 292-8454, mzachari@nsf.gov
Jessica Arriens, NSF, (703) 292-2243, jarriens@nsf.gov

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) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: https://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: https://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: https://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

 

teachers and President Obama
President Obama greets the teachers at the White House.
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women with 3-D printed pieces
Doing 3-D printing was one of the experiences included in the Making and Learning activity.
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U.S. CTO  Megan Smith, NSF Director France Cordova, and NSF Assistant Director Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
U.S. CTO Megan Smith, NSF Director France Córdova and Assistant Director Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
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Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at OSTP.
Awardees heard from Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at OSTP.
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Teachers gathered at tables for activities
Teachers share a light moment during professional development activities.
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