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Meet our 2020 and 2021 Awardees!

2020-2021 OSTA Awards Presidential Awards

Awards will be presented to our Awardees at the Awards Banquet held at the 

World Forestry Center on

Friday, October 29th

Please join us in celebrating our colleagues and everyone's commitment to science education during this challenging time.

The awards banquet will take place in Cheatham Hall at the World Forestry Center. Doors will open at 5pm.  A no-host bar will be available.

Dinner will be served at 6pm and the awards program will start at 6:45pm. The menu for dinner will accommodate vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free guests.

Adults: $60

Children (3-12): $30

Children under 3 are free 

Register here

Become a sponsor and get your name/logo in our program, this website, and in all of our promotions of the event.

OSTA would like to thank

for hosting the OSTA Awards

We are very proud to have these educators as members of the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching

The Presidential Award is the nation's highest honor 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 following teachers have been selected as national and state finalists.

2021 State Finalist

Katrina Arras

Mt. Tabor Middle School

Portland Public Schools

Nominations are being accepted now for teachers of science in grades K-6. Nominate an outstanding science teacher here.

2020 & 2021 OSTA Outstanding Teaching Awardees

One of the most important functions of the Oregon Science Teachers Association is to recognize outstanding science educators across the state.  Each year the OSTA Executive Board selects several individuals for statewide and regional awards.  The Awardees are selected by committee from individuals nominated by members of OSTA.

Statewide Awards

Duane Marshall Special Service to Science Education Award

Duane Marshall was an outstanding career teacher from Newberg High School, active in OSTA, and an important contributor to science education in Oregon. This award in his name in intended to honor those individuals who, as classroom teachers, have made significant contributions to science teaching in their own classrooms and beyond. The awardee was selected based on career longevity and body of work, statewide and regional influence, enthusiasm for science, and the ability to motivate students and colleagues alike.


Steve Porter

Warrenton High School

Warrenton-Hammond School District

Mr. Steve Porter has taught at Warrenton High School for over 30 years.  He teaches Biology, Zoology, Geology, Fisheries Ecology and Anatomy and Physiology.  He also enjoys gaming, rebuilding computers, and discussing comics with his students.  Mr. Porter is best known for the school fish hatchery behind the building.  He has developed this hands-on educational program to integrate STEM and business management.  These students work directly with ODFW, have presented at the capital, and educated youth in classroom settings.  All improvements to the WHS hatchery are student driven with the support and guidance from Mr. Porter.  He is encouraging, passionate, and always has time for questions.  He inspires students to work hard and engineers success.


Carol Biskupic Knight

Sato Elementary

Beaverton School District

Carol has 39 years of education experience, and is currently teaching 4th grade.  She was on the planning team for Sato Elementary school,  the Beaverton Elementary TOSA for eight years, was a planning team member and Professional Development Coordinator for the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, Co-Principal Investigator for the Oregon 2014-2017 MSP grant, and worked on a variety of science workgroups for the Oregon Department of Education. She has won the Presidential Award for Excellence in K-5 in Science and Math Teaching, has been recognized as a KATU Leader in Learning, and was awarded the OnPoint Educator of the Year award. 

Fred Fox Distinguished Service to Science Education Award

This award is named in honor of Fred Fox, a distinguished and well-loved teacher educator from Oregon State university (1957-82). The award is intended to honor those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to mentoring and developing new teachers. It is intended for nominees involved in teacher training programs at the college level, ESD, district administrators or other administrative positions. The awardee is selected based on career longevity, breadth of influence, enthusiasm for science and the profession of science education, and the demonstrated ability to motivate.


Karla Hale

Western Oregon University


As an advisor to student teachers, Karla demonstrates a passion for science and science teaching. She energizes her student teachers and provides strategies for them to transfer that enthusiasm to their students. She was described by her nominator as a wonderful teacher, a great mentor, and an even better scientist.

The Sunrise Scholarship

The Sunrise Scholarship Award was established by long-time OSTA Board Member, Lynn Mitchell.  Lynn was a science teacher at Hood River High school, and spent many years on the OSTA board in a number of capacities.  His vision for this scholarship was to support early career teachers to get involved with their professional organization, take advantage of the resources available through being a member, and setting the stage for the next generation of science leaders in OSTA. The Sunrise Scholarship is used to pay registration to attend the next two (2) OSTA Statewide Conferences, and a 2-year membership in OSTA.


Blake Kuriowa

Mountainside High School

Beaverton School District

In his third year of teaching, Blake’s nominator was so impressed with the responsibility in curriculum design and implementation that he took on this year. He is truly a team member who can be counted on to do high quality work and made it possible for the department to provide the best chemistry distance learning experience for their students. 


Samantha Hauser

Diamond Elementary School

Diamond School District

Samantha is beginning her third year teaching (and in a pandemic) she works to share science and learning with her students. She successfully aids her students in science learning and demonstrating their learning through projects. 

The Thor Sabo Special Service to the Oregon Science Teachers Association Award

This award is named in honor of Thor Sabo, a teacher at Hillsboro High School for many years who also served OSTA as President, Executive Director, and who was responsible for helping organize many annual conferences. This award will be given to an individual who has made significant and long-term contributions of time and effort to supporting the mission of OSTA and to facilitate excellence and continuous improvement in science education.


Dick Pugh

Cleveland High School, Retired

Portland Public Schools

Dick Pugh was an exemplary career science teacher at Cleveland High.  He got his students to be stewards of the land with his work restoring the Portland Oaks Bottom area to become a nature park.  His work on Oakes Bottom got students involved with Audubon and Friends of Trees connections. Dick was known as the Meteorite Man, as his name and the Cleveland High School science dept phone number would flash across people's TV screens whenever a meteorite was seen in Oregon.  When he was in the US Army,  he worked in the nuclear bomb production under a mountain.  That's how he was able to have top security clearance to have that "red phone" at CHS where he could monitor incoming meteorites.   He got grants from the meteorological societies and gave talks all over the state.  He went on meteorological expeditions to Australia and the arctic and was honored by several international organizations.  He donated meteorites to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  His Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory still exists at Portland State University, and he was an officer in the local section of the national Sigma Xi scientific research honor society. Dick was well known in many of the local Portland area rock clubs, and was a supporter of the Oregon Science Teachers Association.

The NGSS Team Award

As Dr. Okhee Lee said, NGSS implementation is a relay, and the strongest runners - the classroom teachers - take the baton over the finish line. OSTA has created the NGSS Team Award to honor the incredible teamwork happening at schools and districts statewide. This award will be given to a team of K-12 teachers who are sharing the work of implementing NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment at their school or in their district. 


Paul Felstiner

Sadie Grasle

Renae Gregg

Rachel Jumago

Jeremy Magee

Andy Wex

Sandy High School

Oregon Trail School District

The Sandy High School Science team has provided and shared support (and laughs) through all of the typical challenges of teaching, especially through the new challenges of modifying the curriculum for distance and hybrid teaching. Everyone on the team is proud to share their science experience from outside of the classroom and find creative ways to share their experience with students. The team has been working very hard in developing storylines that are relevant to our population. The team has also taken a leadership role in promoting equity throughout the entire building.


Joyce Russo

Janet Smith

Allison Gowey

Alex Harding

Joseph Lane Middle School

Roseburg Public Schools

The 7th and 8th grade science team at Joseph Lane Middle School worked collaboratively to create engaging NGSS aligned lessons throughout the pandemic.  The team created engaging videos and booklets that allowed for hands-on learning even though the students were unable to attend school in-person.  The team also worked together to develop an NGSS aligned assessment that will provide feedback to the team to support their students.  Everyone on the  team demonstrates personal and professional commitment to the students to enter high school with the necessary science skills to be successful.  

Regional Awards

These awards are meant to recognize and honor the work of outstanding classroom teachers in the categories of Early Career, Elementary, Middle, and High School.  From every region in Oregon, awardees are selected based on their ability to motivate student achievement and excitement in science.

Region 1: Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, & Clatsop Counties



Bettina Curl

Sato Elementary

Beaverton School District

Bettina Curl is an innovative, dedicated and skilled teacher who integrates STEAM through every aspect of her instruction. She brings learning and discovery to life within her classroom through engaging lessons that are not only relevant in students' lives, but also makes them feel like they are scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians. Bettina's ability to incorporate creative elements into science and support all students to acquire new skills and apply their learning is a true gift. Seeing connections of each of the aspects of STEAM to literacy allows her to make the time for science and also brings joy to learning all skills. During the spring remote learning she hosted Creative Friday lessons that included participatory science investigations and incorporated art. Her students were excited to come back to all of her remote learning sessions because of her ability to inspire and captivate learners. Bettina puts endless time into each of her lessons, but also in creating relationships with her students to uncover not only their unique strengths and interests, but to motivate and energize each learner. Bettina is a master teacher of technology and has presented extensive professional development to peers around the use of tools and the instruction of the application and integration of technology. Another key aspect of Bettina's professionalism is her willingness to share ideas and collaborate. Whether she is working with students or colleagues, Bettina makes everyone feel they are empowered to learn new skills and maximize their potential.

High School

Leah Kyle

Colton High School

Colton School District

Leah is described as a team player, collaborating effectively with her colleagues to create a curriculum and lessons that has made science interesting and “cool” again with the students. She has also given students the ability to go above and beyond by providing them college credit opportunities. Her vast knowledge coupled with enthusiasm for science and teaching are influential with her colleagues as well as her students.



Natalia Gunther

Woodmere Elementary

Portland Public Schools

Natalia, a veteran ESL teacher in a K-5 Title I school, is an amazing advocate for science teaching for ALL students. When many elementary schools focus on math and ELA, especially for emerging bilingual students, Natalia recognizes the importance of language learners engaging in science and engineering. In the classes that Natalia co-teaches with classroom teachers, students may be observing and recording data from a plant investigation that they then discuss in pairs with classmates. Sentence frames offer support as needed for all learners. Or, virtually, students may be engineering a solution to shade their faces from the hot sun using materials found around their home. During the class that I observed, it was clear that students were proud of their designs as they presented their solutions to the class. Not only does Natalia center science and engineering learning for language learners at her school, but she has been instrumental in piloting multiple NGSS/ELP standards-aligned units for our district and creating weeks of content for virtual learning. Many students now recognize her and her daughter as “the science ladies,” from the many videos they created in order to make asynchronous science learning as accessible as possible.

Middle School

Cecily Capistran

Meadow Park Middle School

Beaverton School District

Cecily focuses on the social, emotional, and academic needs of each young person in her grade 6 & 7 science and designing classes, which focus on the school garden and nutrition. She checks in with each person each day. She motivates those around her to solve the kinds of problems people face everyday TOGETHER. By intentionally centering specific voices, people see themselves as having the ability to use science and engineering to improve quality of life. Her instructional videos are accessible to every learner. Because they are professional and polished, learners tell their stories with clear explanations, joy and enthusiasm, too. She inspires teachers and students alike with relevant curriculum, and leads the way in designing rubrics young people can follow. Her local and international connections for Outdoor School and Global Climate cross language and geographic boundaries that open minds to the possibility of transferring lessons learned across cultures. Her ability to synergize people's ideas and goals shows in her work with the Adopt a Farmer Program, lessons on generating energy from biomass, and the genetics of plants. Whether is making an electromagnet to retrieve a key like McGyver, understanding Newton's Second Law from a race between an airliner, sports car and motorcycle, or discovering how a person can work together with the systems of one's body to generate health, she opens doors to meet the needs of each person assigned to her care and the people with which she teaches. 

Region 2: Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Marion, Linn, Benton & Lincoln Counties



Karin Magee

Nellie Muir Elementary School

Woodburn School District

Even teaching from home,  Karin taught advanced science concepts to her kindergarten students. She found creative ways for the students to use common household items to illustrate science concepts and her students were so excited to explore phenomena while working from home.

Region 4: Josephine, Jackson, Klamath & Lake Counties



Amy Preskenis

Walker Elementary School

Ashland School District

In this incredibly challenging year, when most teachers decided to not teach science, Amy was a champion of science education.  She spent weeks packing up huge boxes of materials to send home to students for hands-on lessons and units that were taught over Zoom. Her dedication to teaching science is contagious, she has inspired her teaching partner to join her in teaching science to their second graders all year! Amy skillfully plans engaging lessons which encourage many laughs and smiles from her students and families.  I saw a picture of one her students who had just created his "glue" and was covered with it from head to toe with a huge smile on his face! We need more dedicated science teachers like Amy who inspire our students to LOVE science!

Region 6: Jefferson, Cook, Deschutes, & Harney Counties


High School

Connie Robbins

Crane Union High School

Harney County Union High School District

Connie provides unbelievable leadership and vision for science education throughout the entire county.  She not only sparks interest in her students in the area of science but also has a unique way of tying in the arts and career and technical education.  She sparks interest in adults which has a way of trickling down to students at all levels and interests.

Region 7: Wallowa, Union, Baker & Malheur Counties


Early Career

Jennifer Forrester

Central Elementary School

La Grande School District

Jennifer is a first year teacher who is passionate about science. She has implemented many science and STEM units in her third grade classroom this year despite the challenges of navigating a pandemic while learning the ropes of classroom teaching. Jenn teaches science with a hands-on, interactive approach. She reaches out to borrow materials that are not found in her classroom and does not let the extra effort dampen her spirit. One example of her creativness is the "reverse engineering" or "take it apart" unit she developed. Jenn engaged the other three 3rd grade teachers in the event and spent many extra hours acquiring the tools and the objects needed for all 3rd grade students to participate. Jennifer is one of the best first year teachers I have encountered in my 30+ years in education. She is highly deserving of this award.

Middle School

Erich Dressen

Cove Charter School

Cove School District

Erich is always willing to try new things with his middle school students. He engages them in multiple technology experiences, takes them on wildflower field trips, has them build a variety of engineering projects and gets them collecting data on rocket launches. Students in Erich's classes have the opportunity to really engage in active science learning. Erich is also willing to step up and help with outside projects such as a "Repair Cafe'' held at his school. Additionally he participates in professional development events to broaden his skills and teaching ideas. Erich is good at incorporating STEM into his science lessons. Students learn in an interdisciplinary manner and view real world connections. Erich looks for new and engaging ways to excite and motivate his students. He is an inspiration for other teachers to try new things and to actively engage students in the learning process. Erich deserves to be recognized for his efforts in bringing science to light for middle school students. 

High School

Louanne Zweygardt

Prairie City High School

Prairie City School District

Louanne is the kind of teacher who is always willing to go the extra mile for her students and her own learning. She participates in professional development opportunities and then takes her new experiences back into the classroom. She values lifelong learning for herself and the students she teaches. Louanne is passionate about her students' learning and works to find ways to actively engage them in science. She teaches in a small, rural school but finds ways to interact with other science educators. Louanee has worked hard throughout her teaching career to provide her students with a high quality science education. She is deserving of this award and of being recognized as a quality science educator. 


4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd, #1025
Portland, Oregon

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