8 June : An Indian American science teacher is among the pedagogues nominated by US President Barack Obama as a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Radhika Plakkot is among 103 Maths and Science teachers who have been selected for this prestigious award from across the country.
Plakkot, who teaches Biology at the Huntingtown High School, Calvert County in Maryland, is the only Indian American in the group of 103 teachers.
“Science and technology have long been at the core of America’s strength and competitiveness, and the scientists and engineers who have led America on its remarkable path to success share something very precious: science and math teachers who brought these critical subjects to life,” Obama said in a statement.
“Today we honour some of the best of these teachers and thank them for their dedication. They are inspirations not just to their students, but to the nation and the world,” he said.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level Science and Mathematics teachers from across the country.
The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process done at the state level. Each year the award alternates between Mathematics and Science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades.
This year it goes to teachers teaching 7th through 12th grades. Winners of this Presidential honour receive a USD 10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. They also receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.
Last spring, President Obama called on all Americans to join the effort to elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as a national priority.
The President’s public-private “Educate to Innovate” initiative, which was launched last fall, has attracted more than USD 500 million in donations and in-kind support from corporations, philanthropies, service organisations, and others to help inspire students to pursue studies and careers in Maths and Science.
Last month, Cabinet officials and others in the Federal government answered the President’s call to action by volunteering in local classrooms as part of National Lab Day, a nationwide initiative to build local communities of support for teachers and students studying mathematics and science.