PAESTAR - Pennsylvania Earth Science Teacher Achievement Recognition

Each month, we highlight a PAESTA member (K-16 instructor, informal educator, or pre-service teacher) that has made a notable contribution to the Earth and space science community and/or has served as a leader for the discipline.  Please nominate a teacher for us to recognize (or self-nominate) by completing our online Contact form.

April 2016 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Ms. Kim Gredzinski, a 6th grade science teacher at South Brandywine Middle School. Her nominator writes, "She loves her job and the kids that she teaches. She puts 100% into everything that she does including the after school program, summer program, science fair, etc. She has an excellent relationship with the students whether she knows them or not. She is one of if not the finest teacher in the building."

Congratulations, Kim - you clearly are a PAESTAR!


March 2016 PAESTAR

This month we posthumously recognize Dr. Mercedes Richards, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Penn State University. Dr. Richards was fascinated by Algol binary star systems, and her research accomplishments included being a pioneer in the use of doppler tomography to study mass transfer between stars in these systems. Colleague Dr. Chris Palma shares, "I think if you were to ask her, she would say that some of her most important work was to support everyone in their interest in astronomy. We heard over and over again what an outstanding mentor she was, and in particular, she always looked out for people she considered to be “underdogs”. She had a profound impact on the careers of many scientists (including my own), and worked hard to create and support programs for underrepresented students in astronomy and other STEM fields." Dr. Richards passed away on February 3, 2016.

November 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Ms. Bernadette Kearney, librarian at J.R. Masterman Middle/High School in Philadelphia. Her nominator wrote, "Bernadette has been our librarian at Masterman for the past 10 years. She exemplifies what a wonderful resource a librarian is for a school. Bernadette has been a librarian for 24 years, so you can image the amount of knowledge she has acquired over the years! She is a member of the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, the American Association of School Librarians and the Association of Young Adult Library Services. When we needed a list of books that contained earth science themes, Bernadette sent an email blast across the state and within a matter of hours, we had a list of over 60 books! She loves to help teachers to develop units and gather the necessary resources to teach the students. As she told me, “I love research: doing guided inquiry is one of my favorite things to do.” Her other love is matching students to books. She helps them to obtain the necessary information for projects and research, as well as for recreational reading. She is one of the most valuable assets we have here at Masterman and we are all so grateful to have her!"

Congratulations, Bernadette - you clearly are a PAESTAR!


August 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Christopher Palma, Senior Lecturer of Astronomy, at Penn State University. Chris has been a member of PAESTA since its beginnings and has been the strongest voice for representing the space science mission of our organization. He has been instrumental in helping teachers learn everything about Pluto, from its planetary status to the results of the recent New Horizons mission.

Congratulations, Chris - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

July 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize PAESTA Past President Laura Guertin, Professor of Earth Science at Penn State Brandywine. Not only has Laura just completed her second term as PAESTA President, she has received several accolades in the past month. She was voted a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, received a United States Senate Certificate of Special Recognition for her time as a NOAA Teacher at Sea during the 2014 field season, and has been named one of 100 women presented with the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2015 Inspiring Women in STEM Award.

Congratulations, Laura - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

June 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Jason Andre, Earth science teacher at Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, PA. Jason has been teaching at Garnet Valley for twelve years, with a passion for teaching natural hazards and disasters. We recognize Jason for his enthusiasm and early contributions to the PAESTA Advocacy Committee. Jason's innovative ideas and passion for wanting to make citizens of Pennsylvania understand the importance of the Earth will surely make a difference for us all!

Congratulations, Jason - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

May 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Isabel Pilling, science teacher at AMY James Martin in Philadelphia, for her work as a Board Member for the GreenTreks Network.  GreenTreks is a non-profit video production and educational organization that highlights environmental solutions to inspire actions within the Philadelphia community and beyond.  Isabel has been a math and science teacher to students in grades 6 to 10 for over 15 years in the School District of Philadelphia, inspiring audiences young and old to get involved and make a difference.

Congratulations, Isabel - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

April 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Michael Baer of Elizabeth Forward Middle School in Elizabeth, PA. Michael was selected for the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award for the state of Pennsylvania by the Northeast Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). This award is given to precollege teachers who have made exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences and who are outstanding teachers. Michael's award nomination can be found at:

Congratulations, Michael - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

March 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Toba Bernstein, 8th grade science teacher in Bristol Township, PA. Toba has been a valued, contributing member to PAESTA since the organization’s founding. Most importantly, Toba is a support to her colleagues, both to those in her building and those in the greater PAESTA community. Her nominator states that, “Toba is always willing to lend an ear, serve as a sounding board, and volunteer information and activities to help people problem solve.” This year, Toba is volunteering her time to work with the Penn State Earth and Space Science Partnership to investigate students’ understanding of Earth science, which will contribute to the advancement of Earth science learning across the state and nation.

Congratulations, Toba - you clearly are a PAESTAR!

February 2015 PAESTAR

This month we recognize Deanna Fogelman, a teacher in The School District of the City of York, PA, for her role as PAESTA's Secretary/Treasurer and for her never-ending passion for her love of learning for herself and her students. In addition to her participation in the Penn State Earth and Space Science Partnership summer workshops, later this month Deanna will be representing her district at the Success For All conference in New Orleans to learn about whole-school reform strategies that feature research-proven tools, cooperative learning to engage students and collaborative leadership for continuous improvement.

Congratulations, Deanna- you clearly are a PAESTAR!