Receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in science education is the ultimate honor for a teacher. However, winning the award is not as important to me as the recognition of the extra time and effort I put into my teaching to become the best teacher I can be. The recognition of my dedication to teaching, my passion for science and my students, and appreciation for a job well done, is indeed an incredible honor, especially when there are so many other teachers also deserving of this award.

Joan Christen Beatrice, NE | 7-12, Science, 2011

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Joan Christen has taught science for grades 9-12 at Beatrice High School for the past 9 years. Prior to this, she taught science for grades 7-12 for 7 years at Southeast School in Stella, NE. Joan has a passion for students and a love for learning. She designed a class in which students conduct independent research and compete at regional, state, and National Academies of Science competitions. She also teaches Advanced Placement Biology and dual credit for Physics, Zoology, and Botany. Joan started a science club that has developed an outdoor classroom, built a greenhouse, performed community service, and held Science Nights where elementary students can participate in hands-on science. Science club trips have included a Bahamas cruise and white-water rafting. Joan is the Professional Learning Community Science Facilitator for the Science Department. Her leadership extends to strategic planning and State standards development, and she has served as president of the Nebraska Association of Teachers of Science. Joan has a B.S., summa cum laude, in education from Peru State College and an M.S and a Ph.D. in entomology (with emphasis in molecular genetics) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a certified teacher in natural science, mathematics, and chemistry education for grades 7-12.

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