Receiving the Presidential Award is a recognition of the effort and dedication in the teaching of science. Being a teacher for me is more than a profession, it is a privilege. It allows me to grow as a facilitator, scientist, and especially, as a person. This award is, and will remain, an impetus for me to leave a path for new educators.
Keyla Soto Hidalgo has taught middle school, high school, and college for 10 years. Since 2012, she has taught 11th grade Biology, Human Sexuality, and Environmental Health at University High School.
Keyla promotes critical thinking by integrating mathematics, chemistry, physics, and arts into biology class. She has worked at science fairs and science bowl competitions. Keyla participated in nanotechnology research internship programs sponsored by the NASA-funded Center for Advanced Nanoscale Materials. She developed inquiry-based modules that included the Puerto Rico Science Standards for Teachers and integrated nanotechnology concepts.
She participated in the National Science Foundation-funded Puerto Rico Graduate STEM Fellows K–12 program. Keyla has been awarded with the Recognition for Dedication and Excellence in teaching science by the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. She was recognized as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars.
Keyla earned a B.S. in natural sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and a M.S. in environmental science with a concentration in risk assessment from Metropolitan University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in environmental science at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. She was certified in General Sciences, environmental sciences, and chemistry.