The Presidential Award is an affirmation of my passion for science teaching and learning. I thank my students for the opportunities to share my curiosity for understanding the process and nature of science. Being honored for my work with students is truly a humbling experience. As a Filipino immigrant, receiving this award is beyond living the American Dream. I share the award with all the Filipino teachers worldwide, and with all my students who took a small part of their own adventure with me.

Nel Venzon Jr. Mililani, HI | 7-12, Science, 2017

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

Nel Venzon Jr. has been a mathematics and science teacher for 14 years. He has been teaching regular, Pre-Advanced Placement, and Advanced Placement Biology at Mililani High School since 2009. He taught Integrated Mathematics at the University Laboratory School from 2006 to 2009. He is also an adjunct professor in the Master of Education Program at Wayland Baptist University. Nel brings his students every year to Pouhala Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary where they conduct soil and stream water quality testing and ecosystem restoration efforts through a partnership with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Nel’s students conduct authentic scientific research, focused on a wide range of community problems. His students have presented their research at the district, state, regional, national, and international level. Nel founded the Central Oahu District Science and Engineering Fair in 2011, supporting science education in his local community. He presented his latest research at the International Science Education Conference in Singapore, engaging in global discourse relating science education research and practice. Nel has also co-authored and published papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Nel earned a B.S. in biology and a M.Ed. in teaching from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. He earned a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from the University of Southern California. He is currently in the Certificate in School Management and Leadership, a joint program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School.