The Presidential Award is a way to validate that my passion and career are working together, and there is nothing more rewarding to authenticate my commitment in life. An award is a great honor which recompenses not only an individual, but also a family that has always been supportive; students who are the product and fulfillment of your efforts; and the community who trusted in my daily inventions. It is a challenge to aspire to new goals, personally and professionally.

Esther Alvarez-Meléndez San Juan, PR | K-6, Science, 2014

Esther Alvarez-Meléndez has been an educator since 2003, teaching a variety of subjects to a wide array of learners — currently ranging from kindergarten to fourth grade students at Academia San Ignacio de Loyola. The one thing that has remained constant in her career is her love for teaching science. As a strong advocate for open collaborative work and supportive relationships with students, Esther involves her students in team-building STEM labs, encourages problem-solving discussions, and engages students in school garden projects. Her professional interests focus on technology curriculum and space science workshops. Her current plans involve the recovery of the school garden and the production of crops in a hydroponic project. In addition, she serves as school event coordinator for a variety of activities, including the Science Fair. Esther received a B.A., cum laude, in communication from the University of Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico, and is currently completing a master's in early childhood education. She is certified to teach science in elementary grades.