In 2010, I spent time at St. Jude Hospital with our daughter. That experience defines this award to me. There, I saw STEM modeled by people from different cultural and economic backgrounds. Winning PAEMST draws attention to the importance of this type of collaboration in science. Rural, minority students must be given opportunities to engage in speaking, listening, and writing, skills vital to STEM. Only then will doors open for equal participation in convergent science discussions.

Paula Callender Natchitoches, LA | 7-12, Science, 2019

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

Paula Shuford Callender has been an educator for 20 years. For the past three years, she has taught ninth grade biology at Natchitoches Central High School and is the biology lead teacher. Prior to that, she taught at Converse High School for six years and at Pleasant Hill High School eight years. She also served for four years at Converse High School as an instructional coach to a staff of 35 PreK–12 teachers in all content areas. Throughout her career, Paula has focused her STEM education teaching on the application of science concepts and how these concepts impact society both culturally and economically. Since joining the National Writing Project in 2006, she has worked diligently to provide students with opportunities for reading and writing in STEM, and jointly published a book with her students as part of a Rural Sites grant. Her instructional goal is intentional: Students who pursue careers after graduation, in or out of STEM fields, should have enough knowledge about STEM topics to make sound life choices at the local, state, and federal levels. In that connection, she will serve this summer as a table leader at the 2020 College, Career, and Community (C3WP) Scoring Conference in St. Louis. Paula earned a B.S. in health and human performance from Northwestern State University. She then earned her teaching certificate through the state PREP program, and her National Board Certification in early adolescence science. She is currently enrolled in the teacher mentor training program through the state and will apply those hours to both a M.Ed. in leadership and an instructional coaching certification from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Paula is certified in all sciences grades 6–12.