The Presidential Award confirms that our nation upholds the importance of science education for every child. As an educator who places tremendous value on lifelong learning, I feel that receiving this award provides a solid affirmation to one of the main goals that I’ve been striving to achieve for over 20 years—inspiring and encouraging young people so that each of them is truly capable of accessing, discovering, and generating meaning from the wonders of the remarkable world around them.

Kristin Joivell Alexandria, PA | K-6, Science, 2020

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

Kristin Joivell has been a teacher for more than 20 years at Juniata Valley Elementary School. For her first two years, she led the phonemic awareness and English as a Second Language programs before entering her current position as a kindergarten teacher. In addition to using an inquiry-based approach in daily science lessons, Kristin coordinates afterschool activities and the annual Science Fair as her school’s Science Club advisor. In striving to connect real science research to student learning, she assisted researchers with field work in Greenland as an Arctic Plant Phenology Learning through Engaged Science (APPLES) team member; Manitoba as a Teach Earth Senior Fellow; South Dakota with Penn State University; the Bahamas as an Earthwatch Fellow; and Alaska as a Teacher at Sea. She then used these experiences to enrich the design of schoolwide student research projects. Kristin conducts Family Science Nights at her school district to showcase student learning. These interactive evening events have highlighted student work in pond research, phenology projects, STEM education, and the formal science partnership between her district and Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. To help teachers nationwide become aware of the possibilities of science education, she has presented to educators at formal workshops through the APPLES project and Earthwatch Institute. Locally, she serves on her school’s STEM committee and on ENGINE of Central PA’s family engagement team. Kristin has a B.S.Ed. in elementary and early childhood education from Millersville University and a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Penn State University. She is currently completing training for the Pennsylvania Master Naturalist program. She is certified in elementary and early childhood education.

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