The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)
The Nevada State Science Teachers Association is pleased to recognize the 2020 Nevada National Awardee and the 2022 Nevada State Finalists in Science for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
2020 National Awardee in Science: Amie Braik
Amie Braik has been an educator for 17 years. Her ﬁrst teaching experience was as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the South Paciﬁc. Later, she taught sixth and second grade at Whiteriver Elementary School on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona. She then taught for ﬁve years at Coral Academy of Science Elementary School in Reno followed by ﬁve years at Grace Warner Elementary School. She is currently part of the Nick Poulakidas Elementary School community for two years, where she teaches all subjects for ﬁfth grade.
Amie loves facilitating different STEAM projects in her classroom. Her students have engineered animal shelters. Amie has set challenges for her students to meet by building and coding robots using LEGO Robotics Kits. Her students have created art using 3-D printers and have created windsail cars, space capsules, and bee hotels.
Amie is a member of her school district's science cadre. She has co-facilitated Full Option Science System (FOSS) Kit training for ﬁfth grade teachers. She has led school and multi-statewide professional development on NGSS standards and science and engineering phenomena. Recently, she was part of her district's science curriculum adoption committee. She took part in writing her district pacing guides for ﬁfth grade and is helping with district wide teacher training on her district's new curriculum. Amie joined a roundtable discussion with U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen on the state of STEM education in Nevada.
Amie is a member of the National Science Teaching Association.
Amie earned a B.S. in anthropology from the University of Oregon and an M.Ed. in elementary education from Northern Arizona University. Amie is certiﬁed in kindergarten through eighth grade with a general science middle school endorsement.
2022 State Finalists in Science
Steve Gaskill is a 6th grade science teacher and science department chair at K.O. Knudson Creative Academy of the Arts. Steve recently led a team of 6th graders named one of 10 national ﬁnalists in Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, where students are challenged to identify a problem in their community and develop a solution. The students developed thermally insulating concrete made from sunﬂower stalks to replace steel benches at bus stops and reduce the risk of second degree burns in the summer.
Jennifer Panczyszyn has been an educator since 2011. She has experience teaching Science at both the middle and high school levels as well as the college-level. She earned certiﬁcation in the area of Early Adolescent Science from the National Board of Teaching Professionals in 2017 and is currently working towards Maintenance of Certiﬁcation. She has worked as a Project Facilitator in the Online and Blended Learning and the K-12 Science Departments at the Clark County School District (CCSD). In this role she was responsible for designing and maintaining district-level digital courses and supporting teachers in the classroom implementing blended learning. Currently, she is teaching Science 6 and Science 7 online at Nevada Learning Academy. Jennifer has participated in numerous district cadres, Math and Science Partnership grants, and served as a teacher leader presenting professional learning for teachers across CCSD as a workshop facilitator and a Professional Learning Education (PLE) Instructor. She served as the Science Department Chair at Lawrence Junior High School and as the Science 7 Technology Leader at K.O. Knudson Creative Academy of the Arts. At the state level, she has worked with the Nevada Department of Education regarding standardized science tests on both Item and Bias Review and Standards Setting committees. She also served on the Oﬃce of Science, Innovation, & Technology (OSIT) STEM programs review committee and as a Digital Ambassador as part of the Nevada Digital Learning Collaborative. Currently, she is on the board of the Nevada State Science Teachers Association, serving as the Region 1 Representative. Jennifer has presented at numerous local, regional and national conferences on science education. She is privileged to have attended the Convocation on Enhancing Teachers’ Voices in K-12 Engineering Education in Washington D.C. in 2016 hosted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Additionally, she works at the national level as an EdReports Science Content reviewer.
Jennifer’s other professional aﬃliations include: National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES).
Jennifer operates with the deep belief that all students can learn science. She structures her classroom to honor student experiences and ideas using an asset-based mindset. This has been a recipe for success creating a safe and respectful learning environment in which student agency and collaborative sense-making drive learning.
Jennifer holds a B.S. in Biological Science and a M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction.