Receiving the Presidential Award is both humbling and exhilarating. As a science teacher in an all-girls high school, this honor affirms my efforts to ensure that young women embrace scientific studies and research. Women have traditionally been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is thrilling to witness my students grow in confidence in my classroom, go on to study science at the collegiate level, and to excel in scientific careers.
Linda Messina has been teaching at St. Joseph’s Academy (SJA) for 22 years and has taught Chemistry, Biology, Honors Biology, Advanced Placement (AP) Biology, and Environmental Science. She is also the school’s Science Fair Coordinator. She uses inquiry-based activities, statistics, math modeling, technology, and writing skills to enhance student learning. In 2015, she taught Honors Biology and AP Biology to girls in grades 9–12. Next year, she will personally oversee 187 original research projects.
As a lifelong learner, Linda embraced professional development opportunities in research labs at Louisiana State University (LSU), working to develop a Herpes virus to attack breast cancer cells and working on Treacher Collins Syndrome. Linda has also coauthored four publications, presented at numerous conferences, and regularly participates in professional development courses.
Currently, Linda is the co-moderator of the SJA Science Club, which participates in LSU’s Ocean Commotion, the Coastal Roots Program, and Earth Day. Members take educational trips to Costa Rica, the Louisiana University Marine Consortium, Museum of Natural Science in Houston, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
Linda earned her B.S. in medical technology from Louisiana State University and later completed the Alternate Certification Program in biology. She is certified in General Science and biology.