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News Release 18-043

OSTP and NSF to honor 140 individuals and organizations with highest US award for teachers and mentors

Presidential awards express nation's gratitude for dedication to teaching and mentoring.

The White House.

Awards recognize excellence in STEM teaching and mentoring.

June 25, 2018

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced today that more than 140 individuals and organizations will be honored with presidential awards for their excellence in teaching or mentoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), and mentors will receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

"On behalf of the White House I am honored to express the Nation’s gratitude for the tireless dedication that these men and women bring to educating the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians,” said Michael Kratsios, Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy. “Each day more and more jobs require a strong foundation in STEM education, so the work that you do as teachers and mentors helps ensure that all students can have access to limitless opportunities and the brightest of futures."

Awardees represent schools in all 50 U.S. states, Department of Defense Education Activity schools and schools in the U.S. territories American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During a visit to the nation's capital, award recipients will each receive a presidential citation at an awards ceremony and participate in discussions on STEM and STEM education priorities led by OSTP and NSF. Recipients will also receive $10,000 from NSF, which manages the PAEMST and PAESMEM programs on behalf of the White House.

Presidential award for K-12 teachers

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers can receive from the U.S. government. The award alternates years between kindergarten through sixth grade and seventh-12th grade teachers. This year, on the award's 35th anniversary, kindergarten through sixth grade teachers will be honored.

Nominees complete a rigorous application process that requires them to demonstrate their excellence in content knowledge and ability to adapt to a broad range of learners and teaching environments.

A panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists and educators at the state and national levels assess the applications before recommending nominees to OSTP. Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving STEM education.

Presidential award for STEM mentors

PAESMEM recognizes the critical roles mentors play outside the traditional classroom in the academic and professional development of the future STEM workforce.

Colleagues, administrators, and students nominate individuals and organizations for exemplary mentoring sustained over a minimum of five years. Since 1995, PAESMEM has honored the hard work and dedication mentors exhibit in broadening participation in the STEM pipeline.

Mentors support learners from the kindergarten through collegiate levels, as well as those who recently have started their careers in STEM. They share their expertise and guidance with learners, sometimes through formal mentoring programs. Learners are often from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM.

For more information about PAEMST and PAESMEM, please visit their websites.

Recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are listed below:

Chasity Collier, Mobile, Alabama: Science
Heather Simpson, Hueytown, Alabama: Mathematics

Jennifer Kueter, Anchorage, Alaska: Mathematics
Heather Wollrich, Anchorage, Alaska: Science

Penny Roubison, Buckeye, Arizona: Mathematics
Erik Von Burg, Mesa, Arizona: Science

Justin Leflar, Fayetteville, Arkansas: Science
Amy Sandy, Springdale, Arkansas: Mathematics

Gabriela Cárdenas, Los Angeles, California: Mathematics
Nancy Wright, Hayward, California: Science

Stephanie Kawamura, Parker, Colorado: Science
Sarah Ogier, Littleton, Colorado: Mathematics

Sean Serafino, Monroe, Connecticut: Science
Heather Sutkowski, Hartford, Connecticut: Mathematics

Christa Ferdig, Millsboro, Delaware: Mathematics
Wendy Turner, Wilmington, Delaware: Science

Kelley Padilla, Washington, District of Columbia: Mathematics
Jennifer Ramsey, Washington, District of Columbia: Science

Michael Dodd II, Army Post Office, Army Europe: Science
Angelica Jordan, Army Post Office, Army Europe: Mathematics

Alicia Foy, Lake Worth, Florida: Science
Deeanna Golden, Marianna, Florida: Mathematics

Carrie Beth Rykowski, Cumming, Georgia: Science
Christy Sutton, Leesburg, Georgia: Mathematics

Akeyo Garcia, Ewa Beach, Hawaii: Mathematics
Masaru Uchino, Pearl City, Hawaii: Science

Susan Darden, Eagle, Idaho: Mathematics
Lynnea Shafter, Meridian, Idaho: Science

Gretchen Brinza, Chicago, Illinois: Science
Reginald Duncan, Belleville, Illinois: Mathematics

Lisa Leliaert, Maxwell, Indiana: Mathematics
Shelly Sparrow, Mishawaka, Indiana: Science

Zachry Christensen, Des Moines, Iowa: Mathematics
Ashley Flatebo, Mason City, Iowa: Science

Heidi Harris, Hutchinson, Kansas: Mathematics
Nancy Smith, Overland Park, Kansas: Science

Shannon Brickler, Dry Ridge, Kentucky: Mathematics
Natasha Craft, Somerset, Kentucky: Science

Stefani Farris, Shreveport, Louisiana: Science
Claudia Suazo, Metairie, Louisiana: Mathematics

Barbara Ellis, Yarmouth, Maine: Mathematics
Tonya Prentice, Bryant Pond, Maine: Science

Florence Falatko, Towson, Maryland: Mathematics
George McGurl, Ellicott City, Maryland: Science

Jennifer Donais, Haverhill, Massachusetts: Mathematics
Lorie Hammerstrom, Quincy, Massachusetts: Science

Crystal Brown, Gibraltar, Michigan: Science
Anne Marie Nicoll-Turner, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Mathematics

Janee’ Rivard-Johnson, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Mathematics
Jim Schrankler, St. Paul, Minnesota: Science

Angela August, Gulfport, Mississippi: Mathematics
Angela McKinnon, Olive Branch, Mississippi: Science

Christina Hwande, Clayton, Missouri: Science
Tamara Stine, Ozark, Missouri: Mathematics

Judy Boyle, Divide, Montana: Science
Dacia Lackey, Bozeman, Montana: Mathematics

Janice Buss, Utica, Nebraska: Science
Marlo Tomich, Omaha, Nebraska: Science

Ryan Brock, Reno, Nevada: Science
Stephanie Vega, Sparks, Nevada: Mathematics

Stephanie Gleeson, Moultonborough, New Hampshire: Mathematics

Debra Ericksen, Bridgewater, New Jersey: Science
Denise Rawding, Newark, New Jersey: Mathematics

Sharyn Gray, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Mathematics
Delara Sharma, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Science

Kristen Smith, New York, New York: Mathematics
Tayana Thadal, Roosevelt, New York: Science

Heather Landreth, Winterville, North Carolina: Mathematics
Laura Thomas, Raleigh, North Carolina: Science

Lori Kalash, Fargo, North Dakota: Mathematics
Jennifer Lindsay, Fargo, North Dakota: Science

Jocelyn Teismann, Cincinnati, Ohio: Mathematics
Vicki Willett, Blacklick, Ohio: Science

Michelle Rahn, Claremore, Oklahoma: Science
Macey Stewart, Norman, Oklahoma: Mathematics

Sharon Angal, Hillsboro, Oregon: Science
Melissa Straughan, Albany, Oregon: Mathematics

Deanna Fearon, Glen Rock, Pennsylvania: Mathematics
Christine Rogers, Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Science

Karen Moore, Portsmouth, Rhode Island: Science
Alyssa Wood, Providence, Rhode Island: Science

Sandra Bradshaw, Anderson, South Carolina: Science
Tami Broomall, Moore, South Carolina: Mathematics

Lindsey Tellinghuisen, Willow Lake, South Dakota: Mathematics
Andrea Thedorff, Black Hawk, South Dakota: Mathematics

Anna Brignole, Germantown, Tennessee: Mathematics
Adam Maitland, Knoxville, Tennessee: Science

Denise Koontz, Fort Worth, Texas: Science
Misty Ruth, Pasadena, Texas: Mathematics

Peter Loken, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands: Science
Shabre Providence, Kingshill, Virgin Islands: Mathematics

Carrie Caldwell, Salt Lake City, Utah: Mathematics
Kristina Kaly, Salt Lake City, Utah: Science

David Baird, Charlotte, Vermont: Mathematics

Kathleen O’Dell, Christiansburg, Virginia: Mathematics
Julia Young, Chesapeake, Virginia: Science

Jana Dean, Olympia, Washington: Mathematics
Kitten Vaa, Mountlake Terrace, Washington: Science

WEST VIRGINIA Margaret Howells, Wheeling, West Virginia: Science Amanda Menihan, Morgantown, West Virginia: Mathematics

Jay Garvey Shah, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin: Science
Susan Hammer, Middleton, Wisconsin: Mathematics

Aryn Tippetts, Lovell, Wyoming: Science
Janet Wragge, Casper, Wyoming: Science

* DoDEA: U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity; APO, AE: Army Post Office, Army Europe

Individual recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) are listed below:

  • Alice Agogino, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ann Chester McGraw, West Virginia University
  • Dan Dimitriu, San Antonio College
  • Daniel Schwartz, University of Washington
  • Dorceta Taylor, University of Michigan
  • Elba Serrano, New Mexico State University
  • Elena Sparrow, University of Alaska-Fairbanks
  • Erika Camacho, Arizona State University
  • Gilda Barabino, City College of New York
  • Jill Knapp, Princeton University
  • Glenn Lee, Waialua High and Intermediate School
  • Jennifer James, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • John Pollock, Duquesne University
  • J.K. Haynes, Morehouse College
  • Jorge Lopez, University of Texas El Paso
  • Joshua Villalobos, El Paso Community College
  • Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt University
  • Michael Romero, Tufts University
  • Graca Vicente, Louisiana State University
  • Delores Cimini, State University of New York at Albany
  • Matt Gilligan, Savannah State University
  • Melissa Simon, Northwestern University at Chicago
  • Paul Tchounwou, Jackson State University
  • Paulinus Chigbu, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
  • Reggie Blake, New York City College of Technology
  • Tanja Karp, Texas Tech University
  • Zaida C. Morales-Martinez, Florida International University

Organizational recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) are listed below (organization representative in parentheses):

  • Earth Science Women's Network (Emily Fischer) 
  • Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Program, Morehouse College (Ulrica Wilson)
  • Great Minds in STEM (Anna Park)
  • IGNITE Worldwide (Cathi Rodgveller)
  • Louisiana State University Office of Strategic Initiatives (Zakiya Wilson-Kennedy)
  • National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics, University of Minnesota (Diana Dalbotten)
  • National Center for Women & Information Technology (Lucy Sanders)
  • New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (Toney Begay)
  • Science on Wheels Peer Mentoring Educational Center (Juan Lopez-Garriga)
  • Team Mentoring Program, Washington State University (Manuel Acevedo)
  • The Academy of Natural Sciences Women in Natural Science, Drexel University (Jacquie Genovesi)
  • The Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators, University of California Santa Cruz (Lisa Hunter)
  • The Society for Neuroscience's Neuroscience Scholars Program (Erich Jarvis)
  • Center for Science Outreach, Vanderbilt University (Ginny Shepherd)


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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