Current Award Winners

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 CSTA Awards for Future Science Teacher Award, Christine Bertrand Advocacy Award, Distinguished Contributions Award and 2018 PAEMST-Science recipients from California. The following individuals and organizations were honored during the 2018 California Science Education Conference on November 30- December 2 in Pasadena. This year's group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!


Future Science Teacher Award

The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes college students who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to science education through volunteer, teaching, and professional organization activities and who show promise to become outstanding science educators.

Erik Perez, CSU Long Beach

Erik is working on his multiple subject credential and an educational specialist credential. He will be graduating in May 2019 with both of these credentials. His undergraduate degree was in Liberal Studies. During summer 2017 he worked with me at CSULB’s Young Scientists Camp. He was assigned to work with a mentor teacher and another preservice teacher. The team spent a week prior to camp planning their 45 hours of hands-on science investigation. His team taught middle school students for a two week STEM Makers Challenge. This was an integrated program where students learned science concepts related to electricity and magnetism, forces and simple machines. They designed and built Rube Goldberg contraptions, they designed devices to solve a problem (and did a Shark Tank like presentation to sell their prototype) and more.


2018 Christine Bertrand Advocacy Award

The Christine Bertrand Advocacy Award is named for CSTA's former executive director Christine Bertrand. Christine served as CSTA's executive director 1996-2011. Under her leadership, CSTA achieved many advocacy victories for science education. In 2015, the CSTA Board of Directors established the Christine Bertrand Advocacy Award to honor her service to science education. The award honors an individual(s) who demonstrate a commitment to quality science education in California, going beyond expected levels of involvement. The award recognizes outstanding advocacy and championing of quality science education. Nominated and bestowed by the Board of Directors, no more than two awards will be given per year.

Jane Steinkamp, San Joaquin County Office of Education

Currently, Jane is the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services at San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE). As part of her assignment as an Assistant Superintendent, Jane was nominated and accepted the opportunity to lead the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) for Science. The CISC Science Committee represents all 58 counties in California that help work with local school districts in order to facilitate curriculum and instruction support in the implementation of our CA science standards. Many were surprised by this nomination, as Jane was a language arts teacher previously, not a science teacher. It did not take long for it to become clear that Jane was an ardent science advocate hiding in an English teacher’s body.

In her role as the chairwoman of the CISC Science Committee, Jane has been instrumental in forging a statewide partnership between the California Department of Education (CDE), California Science Project (CSP), the K12 Alliance at WestEd, the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) and CISC. In doing so, this NGSS collaborative has organized and delivered 10 statewide Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Roll Out events each year for the past four years. This has been a model that has been recommended for use by other subject groups in California, and as a model for other states to use across the country.


CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award

The CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award honors an organization, institution or foundation which has made a sustained, significant impact on science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning. This year's awardees are the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

NASA Jet Propulsion Lab

JPL has consistently been a support by their regular participation in CSTA’s California Science Education Conference (as presenters, exhibitors, even driving the Mars Rover over to the convention center). In addition, they have been a key player in making sure students in California have a high quality science education by serving on the State’s Science Expert Panel (this is my memory of their involvement, but I believe the history goes back farther, so likely more detail to add here). They have also personally been a resource to our community, providing us with support whenever we have reached out (for example, in writing a learning sequence for the California NGSS state-wide Rollout).

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography has long been a support to educators in their southern California community. Most recently, with the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, they have been a major support to the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative, serving as a resource for content and pedagogy instruction and by having several of their scientists serve as cadre for summer institutes.

This well-established relationship with JPL and Scripps afforded CSTA the opportunity to invite both organizations to serve on the 2018 CSTA Conference Committee to help shape a vision for how to support teachers in teaching new NGSS content that relates to climate science. Understanding that much of this science was new to educators, both institutions rose to the challenge to help us shape a Climate Summit program that would enrich teachers but also provide them with necessary vision for how to teach the new content.

Supporting teachers to ensure ALL students become scientifically literate adults, with doors open to future careers in STEM fields, takes a community and a big-picture vision. Both JPL and Scripps exemplify this with their long standing support of the science education community in California.


Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)

CSTA annually partners with the California Department of Education to honor the California science teacher state finalists and recipients of the PAEMST. The PAEMST are the nation's highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science). Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education.

The 2018 California State Finalists for Science are:

Kathryn Beck is a high school teacher at Bolsa Grande High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District and has been teaching 18 years. She creates a safe classroom environment for her students using cooperative learning through table talks and group discourse. Beck developed College Board-approved advanced placement Physics B and AP Physics C curriculum as well as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) after-school extension class, which was developed with the Orange County Department of Education. Kathryn is an active member of CSTA and serves on CSTA’s Legislative Oversight Committee.

Erin Dunroe teaches at Lake Center Middle School in the Little Lake City Elementary School District. She has been teaching for nine years. Dunroe teaches life science and physical science along with Advancement Via Individual Determination. She provides multiple opportunities for students to show their understanding, including open-ended questions, peer discussions, and hands-on investigations. She serves as a mentor for student teachers through the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Erin is an active member of CSTA.

Allie Kittay is a high school teacher at Redwood High School in the Tamalpais Union High School District. A 31-year veteran of teaching, she teaches AP biology and Integrated Science 3-4. Kittay mentors student teachers and provides a variety of instructional strategies to support the students within her classes. She provides workshops for new and experienced AP biology teachers, such as inquiry-based labs and quantitative skills in biology.

Kari Milton teaches grades six through eight at Bancroft Middle School in the Long Beach Unified School District and has been teaching for 16 years. Milton teaches computer-aided drafting, which implements top-design concept, and coding skills through HTML and CSS. She is also the advisor to the Genius Bar, where students participate and help with the technology needs of the school. She rewrote and updated course guides for grades seven and eight technology curriculum for the district that follow accountability with national technology standards and also provides support for those who would like to earn their National Board Certification.

Jose Rivas is a high school teacher at Lennox Mathematics, Science, and Technology Academy in the Lennox School District. He has been teaching for 14 years and currently teaches AP physics, principles of engineering, and engineering design and development and uses a variety of instructional methods including phenomenon-based learning, structured discourse, and modeling. As the department chair, he coordinates and leads professional learning and observations for the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Department. He has presented at local and national conferences such as the National Science Teachers Association Conference and the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference.