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"NMLSTA Member Kelle Sumrall Wins a Yager Award!"

"Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I would have won a national science-teaching award. I was the student in high school who avoided the “hard” science classes for fear of failure.  In the past, I had good science teachers, but it wasn’t until I was working on my masters’ where I found a true passion for science. From then on, I wanted everybody to develop a love for science the way I had.

After finishing my doctorate, I had the opportunity to continue teaching at a university as an adjunct professor, but deep down inside, I felt that’s not where I needed to be. Ultimately, I wanted to apply all that I had learned during my graduate studies (i.e. classes, workshops, conferences) to a k-12 classroom.  Once I had the amazing opportunity, I wanted my students to benefit from all that I had learned.

When I was encouraged to apply for the Robert E. Yager Excellence in Science Teaching Award, my first thought was, “Why would I be chosen for this award? I just teach science the way I’m suppose to be teach it (hands-on, inquiry driven, etc…).” Even though the process for applying for the award was very lengthy, it gave me time to really reflect on my classroom, how I teach, my strengths and weaknesses and what I want to change.  Applying for this award, is one experience I will never regret because I feel just the application process alone was beneficial to me and my classroom.

When I got the email saying I was chosen for the award, I was so humbled.  I never knew how much fun it would be winning an award. This particular award was presented at the NSTA Science Congress in Buffalo, NY but I was also invited to attend the NSTA Gala at the NSTA National Conference in Los Angeles, Ca. During the NSTA Science Congress, the award winners were able to give a short presentation about their classrooms to the attendees and attend all of the meetings at the Congress. To be able to attend, be surrounded by and interact with so many incredible science teachers from around the world was worth the time applying for the award.

For those teachers, who feel that what they do in their classrooms is not worthy of a national award, I would definitely encourage you to apply and see. Upon winning the award, it is well worth, not only the monetary benefits, but also the various connections you will make with other science educators around the globe." - Kelle Sumrall

Learn more about the Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award and other awards given through NSTA at http://www.nsta.org/about/awards.aspx

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