The Presidential Award is a great honor. As a child, my dad told me I could achieve anything if I set my mind to it. I never expected that would involve teaching science, much less to a degree that merited this award. In recognizing how growth mindset facilitated this accomplishment, I also recognize that my privilege allows me to be where I am today. The Presidential Award means I am not done; I must continue to improve so that I can actively support my less privileged students and colleagues.

Jennifer Carver-Hunter Salt Lake City, UT | K-6, Science, 2020

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

Jennifer "Jen" Carver-Hunter has taught fifth grade Science and English Language Arts at Mountain View Elementary School for ten years. During the first 10 years of her career, she taught oral and written language comprehension and communication skills to multi-language learners at Johnson and Northside Elementary Schools in Montrose, Colorado. Jen is a current member of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Teacher Innovator Institute and the master teacher and crew commander for the Mars Desert Research Station’s Spaceward Bound Utah program. She has used connections forged through these two programs to promote student interest in scientific exploration beyond Earth. Her students use Mars as an analog for what they learn about Earth’s surface and spend their fifth grade year immersed in various simulations of life on Mars. Through student-designed investigations and hands-on engineering design projects, Jen’s students not only stay engaged in the content but also start to view themselves as the future scientists who might help send astronauts to Mars. Jen believes in leading her students by example and strives to share the message that learning is a lifelong endeavor. Her current passion in education is in inspiring her students to feed their curiosity by wondering and asking questions because these practices are critical in developing problem solving and collaboration skills. Jen has an artium baccalaurus in Spanish from Bryn Mawr College and a M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Adams State College. She also has an endorsement in Building Excellence in Elementary STEM from the University of Utah and an endorsement in Linguistically Diverse Education from Fort Lewis College.

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