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Press Release

National Science Teaching Association Names 2024 Recipients of Its Awards Program

Top Science Educators From Around the Country Honored in Celebration of Excellence

MCLEAN, Va.—March 18, 2024—The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) announced the recipients of its 2024 NSTA Awards program, which honors K–12 teachers, principals, professors, and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education. Awardees will be recognized during a special evening Teacher Awards event taking place during the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Denver, Colorado, on March 22 (with the exception of the student honored with the Angela Award, who will be honored at a private ceremony arranged with the student's school and faculty).

“I look forward to attending the NSTA Awards ceremony each year,” said NSTA President Julie A. Luft. “This is one of my favorite NSTA events. This year, we will recognize exceptional science teachers and an extraordinary student. As a faculty member who works with teachers, I find this group of awardees to be inspiring. All of our awardees are dedicated learners, leaders, and innovators. Each day they work to ensure we have a diverse, talented, and knowledgeable citizenry and workforce that successfully navigates the 21st century. With these awardees, our science future is in good hands.”

NSTA is honoring the following award recipients:

Angela Award

Nakshathra Jakkula, Seventh-Grade Student, Juan Cabrillo Middle School, Santa Clara, California  

Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers

• Stephanie Aragon, Fifth-Grade Teacher, Thorndyke Elementary School, Tukwila, Washington 

Elizabeth Bryan, Physical Science Teacher, Gresham High School, Gresham, Oregon

Madison Hammond, Fourth-Grade Teacher, Cascade View Elementary School, Tukwila, Washington

Liliia Khmarskaia, Chemistry and Physics Teacher, James M. Bennett High School, Salisbury, Maryland

McKensie Kreutzer, Biology, Chemistry, and Scientific Research Teacher, E.A. Young Academy, Roanoke, Texas

Fabian Lopez, Biology Teacher, Penn High School, Mishawaka, Indiana

Zackary Lopez, Biology Teacher, Penn High School, Mishawaka, Indiana

Alicia Martin, Fifth-Grade Teacher, Oak Forest Elementary School, Jackson, Mississippi

Olisa Menakaya, Chemistry and Physics Teacher, Springbrook High School, Silver Spring, Maryland

Jimmy Newell, Fifth-Grade Teacher, Beehive Science and Technology Academy, Sandy, Utah

Sami Peterson, Science Teacher, Hopkins West Junior High School, Minnetonka, Minnesota

Steven Sanders, Earth and Space Science Teacher, Penn High School, Mishawaka, Indiana

Jordon Seig, Eighth-Grade Science Teacher, Upper Dauphin School District, Lykens, Pennsylvania

Chloe Westhafer, Earth Science Teacher, West Jackson Middle School, Jefferson, Georgia

Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Awards

Jaime Gratton, District II, Lead Science Teacher, Goffstown High School, Goffstown, New Hampshire 

Karen Randazzo, District IV, Chemistry Teacher, Hillsborough High School, Hillsborough, New Jersey

Kirsten Salonga, District VIII, ESOL Environmental Science Teacher and Biology Teacher, Justice High School, Falls Church, Virginia

Shannon Sullivan Hudson, District X, Science Teacher, Crawfordsville Middle School, Crawfordsville, Indiana

Yajaira Fuentes-Tauber, District XIV, Biology and Zoology Science Teacher, Rocky Mountain High School, Fort Collins, Colorado

Briana Clarke, District XVI, Seventh- and Eighth-Grade Science Teacher, Park Day School, Oakland, California

Shell Science Teaching Award, sponsored by Shell USA, Inc.

Awardee: Lacey Hoosier, Science Teacher, Buckeye High School, Deville, Louisiana

• Finalist: Mary Lynn Hess, K–5 STEM Resource Teacher, Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School, Sanford, Florida

FinalistKristin Slota, Science Teacher, Afton Elementary School, Yardley, Pennsylvania

Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, sponsored by Shell USA, Inc., outfitted by Carolina Biological Supply Company

• Grand-Prize Winner (Elementary School Level)Cristina Eilers, Newport Elementary School, Crosby, Texas

• Grand-Prize Winner (Middle School Level)Catherine Thomas, Central Middle School, Galveston, Texas

• Grand-Prize Winner (High School Level): Tiffany Booth, Eleanor McMain High School, New Orleans, Louisiana

Shell Urban Science Educator Development Award, sponsored by Shell USA, Inc.

• Yasmine Asadi, Science/CTE/Entrepreneurship Teacher, Lochburn Middle School, Lakewood, Washington

Roy Basa, CTE/Science Teacher, Twin Buttes Cyber Academy, Zuni, New Mexico

Sarah Daniel, Science Teacher, Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Arlinda Davis, Science Teacher, Maranathan Academy, Birmingham, Alabama

Angel Jackson, Science/STEM Teacher, Gilliard Elementary School, Mobile, Alabama

Cynthia Lopez, Science Teacher, Desert View High School, Tucson, Arizona

Faryal Shaukat, Science Teacher, J. Frank Dobie High School, Houston, Texas

Sylvia Shugrue Award for Elementary School Teachers

• Stephanie Westhafer, First-Grade Teacher, West Jackson Elementary School, Hoschton, Georgia

NSTA encourages science educators to apply for its 2025 NSTA Awards. For information, visit

About NSTA
The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is a vibrant community of 40,000 science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and its impact on student learning. NSTA offers high-quality science resources and continuous learning so that science educators grow professionally and excel in their career. For new and experienced teachers alike, the NSTA community offers the opportunity to network with like-minded peers at the national level, connect with mentors and leading researchers, and learn from the best in the field. For more information, visit, or follow NSTA on XFacebookInstagramYouTube, and LinkedIn.

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Kate Falk, NSTA
(703) 312-9211

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