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Gillis Receives 2014 CSTA Future Science Teacher Award

Published: September 15, 2014

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) recently announced the recipients of its 2014 awards and honored CSULB’s Laurie Gillis with its Future Science Teacher Award.

Gillis will be presented her award at the annual meeting of members to be held on Thursday, Dec. 4, from 3:15-4:30 p.m., at the Long Beach Convention Center. The presentation will take place during the National Science Teachers Association Long Beach Area Conference on Science Education, which is held in collaboration with the CSTA.

“Laurie Gillis is one of the best student teachers I have had from CSULB,” said Stephanie Bauer, Odyssey Academy Lead Teacher at Lakewood High School. “She is thoughtful in her lesson design and reflective with every aspect of teaching her students.”

“She is open to critical feedback – she solicits it, wants to do well, recognizes herself as a new teacher and never reacts defensively,” said Alan Colburn, a professor in the CSULB Science Education Department. “She is motivated to take advantage of every growth opportunity that comes her way and has already taken advantage of multiple opportunities for professional development. Finally, she is reflective, plans carefully, and tries to think through her lessons and their effects on students.”

The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes college students who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to science education through volunteer, teaching and professional organization activities, and who show promise to become outstanding science educators. The CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, kindergarten through university. Gillis is the ninth CSULB student to receive the award and it marks the eighth straight year the recipient has come from the campus.

“I think the fact that we keep winning this award is because we have strong students who have taken advantage of multiple opportunities to grow and thrive as future teachers,” said CSULB science education professor Laura Henriques. “We strongly encourage professional involvement early on in their careers.”

Previous recipients of the award from CSULB include Genevieve Finch (2005), William M. Berkstresser and Padma Haldar (2007), Caroline Potter (2008), Bernice “Jeanne” Lepowsky (2009), Angela Lewis (2010), Guadalupe de la O (2011), Josiah Jones (2012) and Tania Hughes (2013).

Laurie Gillis

Gillis, who earned her B.A. degree from Northwestern University, received a single subject credential from CSULB in June.

As a credential student at CSULB, Gillis proved eager to be involved in activities that supported her growth as a teacher, going above and beyond the credential program’s expectations. And looking forward, she has plans of her own.

“Once I am in my own classroom, one of my main goals is to become involved with or establish a program that assists and encourages young ladies to pursue science careers,” said Gillis. “I was well into my post-baccalaureate courses when a female professor was the first person to tell me I was a ‘natural’ at science and encouraged me to pursue it as a career. It practically changed my identity. It helped me see potential in myself that I had never considered and it opened my mind up to career choices I had never entertained before. I want to give that experience to other young ladies. I want to help young women recognize their own potential in science and feel empowered to pursue it beyond high school.”

–Shayne Schroeder