Yakima and Bothell Teachers Each Receive Highest National Science Teaching Honor and $10,000 Presidential Award

Senator Cantwell congratulates first-grade teacher Julie Fry (Yakima) and K-5 STEM specialist Allison Greenberg (Bothell).

SEATTLE, WA – Today, two Washington state teachers were honored at a virtual event as winners of the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

  • Julie Fry, Roosevelt Elementary School, Yakima, Washington (Science)
  • Allison Greenberg, Woodside Elementary School, Bothell, Washington (Science)

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science (STEM) teaching.

“Washington state’s culture of innovation relies on gifted STEM teachers like Ms. Fry and Ms. Greenberg,” Senator Cantwell said. “I’m grateful to each for their expertise and pleased to see them receive national recognition.”

The virtual event was live-streamed (link) and attended by National Science Foundation Director, Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan. Ms. Fry and Ms. Greenberg will each receive a $10,000 prize and a certificate signed by President Biden.

Both teachers created unique projects to inspire students’ interest in science during the pandemic, according to interviews with the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Ms. Fry, a first-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Yakima, incorporated science into a reading unit called “Changing Over Time.”

“I mailed two sets of lima bean seeds to my students; one to plant in a baggy and one to soak in water. My students were very excited about getting to use their magnifying lenses while dissecting seeds and watching some grow into little plants!”

Ms. Greenberg, a K-5 STEM specialist at Woodside Elementary School in Bothell, gave students a challenge: Communicate with a family member in a different room, without yelling or using phones.

“[The] students’ solutions were so creative! … One kindergartner used a remote control car to send a recorded message on a toy microphone to his sister, a first-grader used flashlights and mirrors to send Morse code messages to his dad, and a third-grader sent coded flashlight signals to family indicating that her sticky note messages would be arriving soon via a zip line.”

STEM education is a key focus of Senator Cantwell’s work for Washington state and as Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

In November 2020, Cantwell announced a $1.5 million grant for STEM education in Central Kitsap Public Schools.

Cantwell is leading the effort to pass the bipartisan US Innovation and Competitiveness Act (USICA), which would increase federal funding for STEM education and development from $1 billion in FY 2020 to more than $4 billion by 2026.

Nominees complete a rigorous application process that allows them to demonstrate deep content knowledge and their 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 the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving STEM education.

You can see more information about the award and the full list of awardees HERE.

A live stream of the all-day event is available HERE.