After winning the Presidential Award, I felt empowered to evolve in ways I could never have anticipated or imagined. While the title alone elevated me into a whirlwind of professional opportunities, the subsequent confidence boost equipped me to reach higher and dream bigger in a manner simply unfeasible before. That in turn had such an incredible impact on my students, showing them that anything is possible for anyone anywhere. To say it was a game-changer is an understatement for the ages.

Catherine Boniol Choudrant, LA | 7-12, Science, 1996

Catherine S. “Cathi” Cox-Boniol has been an educator for more than 39 years, spending the first 17 years teaching high school science at Choudrant High School. She was recruited to Louisiana Tech University in 1998 where she spent a decade as Program Coordinator for CATALyST, the university’s Center for Applied Teaching and Learning to Yield Scientific Thinking, before returning to the Lincoln Parish District to develop its new STEM program and forge community partnerships as ACHIEVE Coordinator. Named as Chair for the Louisiana Science Standards Review to establish the first new standards in more than 20 years, Cathi helmed the work of more than 100 statewide educators and stakeholders and directed Committee and Workgroup sessions in developing multi-dimensional standards that finally addressed the critical components of science and engineering practices. Her efforts earned her the distinction of “Louisianian of the Year” for her activism and advocacy around STEM education. Listed among Delta Style Magazine’s “Sweet Sixteen” Most Influential Women, Cathi serves as the Louisiana Co-Director for the national Engineering by Design Consortium that is part of the STEM Center for Teaching and Learning within the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. In addition, she serves on the Editorial Review Board for ITEEA publications that include Technology and Engineering Teacher and the Elementary STEM Journal. With her work highlighted among eight different publications, Cathi went on to co-author three engineering education books for Bonamy Publishing. Earning B.S., M.S., and Specialist degrees from Louisiana Tech University, Cathi is a certified secondary science teacher and is also a state facilitator and trainer for the national OpenSciEd curriculum.

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