President Barack Obama has named an Indian American science teacher Radhika Plakkot as one of the 103 mathematics and science teachers for the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.
Plakkot, who teaches biology at the Huntingtown High School, Calvert County in Maryland is the only Indian American in the group. She and other educators will receive their awards in Washington, D.C. later this year.
“Science and technology have long been at the core of America’s strength and competitiveness, and the scientists and engineers who have led America on its remarkable path to success share something very precious: science and math teachers who brought these critical subjects to life,” Obama said in a statement.
“Today we honour some of the best of these teachers and thank them for their dedication. They are inspirations not just to their students, but to the nation and the world,” he said.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers from across the country.
Each year the award alternates between mathematics and science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. This year it goes to teachers teaching 7th through 12th grades.
Winners of this presidential honour receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.
Last spring at the National Academy of Sciences, President Obama called on all Americans to join the effort to elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education as a national priority.
The President’s public-private “Educate to Innovate” initiative, which was launched last autumn, has attracted more than $500 million in donations and in-kind support from corporations, philanthropies, service organizations, and others to help inspire students to pursue studies and careers in math and science.