The Presidential Award celebrates educators that work hard, have an enthusiasm for their profession, and are continually pushing themselves. Simply put: it is a way to say “job well done.” Teaching is a demanding job as we spend many hours planning, teaching and building relationships with our students. It is all worth it when a student becomes excited about learning. I love that this process has shown my students that hard work and perseverance pays off.

Pamela Petersen York, NE | 7-12, Science, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Pamela "Pam" Petersen has taught at York Middle School for the last 18 years and currently teaches eighth-grade science, health, and STEM classes. In her classroom, Pam works with real-world organizations to teach her students about the impact of science. For example, in her STEM class, students use the same techniques as astronauts in the International Space Station to grow plants. They then send the data to NASA for the Growing Beyond Earth program. Pam was instrumental in providing space camp for elementary and middle school students across the state in collaboration with the NASA Nebraska Space Grant. She has served as an ambassador for this program for five years, providing educator training across the state. Pamela was also an intern at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. While there, she was coordinator for the Space Port Area Conference for Educators and helped to plan a teacher conference for educators across the United States. Pamela has attended Honeywell Educators at Space Academy, as well as Lift-Off at Johnson Space Center in Houston. She has presented at national space-related conferences including Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC). Pamela earned a B.S., summa cum laude, in middle level education from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Doane University. She is certified in middle level education in science and social sciences.