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Regional Winners of Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Competition Announced

24 Science Teachers Recognized for Finding Innovative Ways to Deliver Quality Lab Experiences to Students

ARLINGTON, Va.—September 27, 2023—Twenty-four science teachers have been named regional winners in the annual Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. Sponsored by Shell USA, Inc.(Shell) and administered by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged K–12 teachers who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package.

"These teachers are passionate, and their support is essential for students. And, their dedication to providing science-based reasoning skills in the classroom makes them outstanding," says Frazier Wilson, Director, Shell Workforce Development & Diversity Outreach. "Equipping every student with technical competencies, scientific experiences, and critical thinking will prepare them for a successful future. At Shell, we believe students can reach new heights when they have access to the right tools."

To enter the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, K–12 science teachers located in select school districts near Shell assets were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed, and describe their approach to science education instruction using their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries.

"Teachers need resources in order to be able to provide their students with high-quality instruction. NSTA is proud to partner with Shell to give these teachers the classrooms they and their students deserve," says Erika Shugart, Ph.D., CEO and executive director, NSTA.

The regional winners each received a school science lab makeover support package valued at $15,000 (for the elementary level) and $20,000 (for the middle and high school level). The winning teachers now advance to the national phase of the competition, in which they will have a chance to win an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education, where they will be honored during a special evening celebration.

Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge Regional Winners

Carson Asset

  • Middle Level: Teresa Aki, Rudecinda Sepulveda Dodson Middle School, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
  • Middle Level: Oscar Espinoza, Ross Academy of Creative and Media Arts Middle School, Artesia, California
  • High School Level: Jose Rivas, Lennox Math, Science, and Technology Academy, Lennox, California

Deer Park Asset

  • Middle Level: Jeffrey Gale, Fairmont Junior High School, Pasadena, Texas
  • High School Level: Jennifer Gerber, Deer Park High School-North, Deer Park, Texas
  • High School Level: Cathleen Baxter Swindle, Pasadena Memorial Senior High School, Pasadena, Texas

Geismar Asset

  • Middle Level: Amanda Vital, Kenilworth Science and Technology School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Ashley Murphy, Liberty Magnet High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Katrin Smith, The Dufrocq School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Houston Asset

  • Elementary Level: Cristina Eilers, Newport Elementary School, Crosby, Texas
  • Middle Level: Catherine Thomas, Central Middle School, Galveston, Texas
  • High School Level: Selene Verhofstad, J. Frank Dobie High School, Houston, Texas

Monaca Asset

  • Elementary Level: Nicole Darroch, Economy Elementary School, Freedom, Pennsylvania
  • Middle Level: Cay Kovach, Brownsville Area Middle School, Brownsville, Pennsylvania
  • High School Level: Darren Fecich, Blackhawk High School, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

New Orleans Asset

  • Elementary Level: P. Nicolle Borne, Bayou Boeuf Elementary School, Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Cindy Ferrara, Willow School, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Tiffany Booth, Eleanor McMain High School, New Orleans, Louisiana

Norco Asset

  • Elementary Level: Taylor Boudreaux, Lakewood Elementary School, Luling, Louisiana
  • Middle Level: Nadine Stewart, East St. John Preparatory Academy, LaPlace, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Kristen White, East St. John High School, Reserve, Louisiana

Port Allen Asset

  • Elementary Level: Sandy Musso, Brusly Upper Elementary School, Port Allen, Louisiana
  • Middle Level: Tromel Willis, Scotlandville Pre-Engineering Magnet Academy, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • High School Level: Faith McFadden, STEM Magnet Academy, Morganza, Louisiana

For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition website at

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 X, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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Kate Falk, NSTA
(703) 312-9211

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