PLNU, MNU alumnus recognized by White House
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Olathe, Kansas
Point Loma Nazarene University and MidAmerica Nazarene University alumnus Dennis Burkett Jr. recently received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Burkett completed a bachelor's degree in chemistry at PLNU and a master's in instructional technology at MNU. He currently teaches chemistry at Olathe South High School, a position he has held for the past seven years.

In 2007, Burkett also received the Kansas Horizon Award, which recognizes outstanding first-year teachers.

Burkett incorporates technology into everyday classroom activities. He uses podcasts for Advanced Placement Chemistry lessons and teaches students how to work collaboratively through tools such as Google Docs.

Burkett traveled to Washington D.C. on June 25 along with 96 other math and science teachers from across the U.S. Recipients of the 2011 award were recognized at the White House, where they met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden. The week of recognition activities and professional development wrapped up with an award ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where recipients received certificates signed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

"It is a great honor to be considered for the Presidential Award," Burkett said. "I am grateful that my style of teaching and method of relating chemistry concepts to students is worthy of such consideration. I have had some amazing mentors and been allowed much latitude in trying new things to make connections for my students. With this recognition, I hope to continue to improve my own methods of teaching and have a greater impact on those with whom I teach."

According to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, PAEMST is the nation’s highest recognition of K-12 math and science teachers for outstanding teaching in the U.S. Since the program began in 1983, more than 4,200 teachers have been recognized with this honor. Burkett holds a bachelor's in chemistry from Point Loma Nazarene University; a bachelor's in secondary education from the University of Missouri, Kansas City; a master's in theological studies from Nazarene Theological Seminary; and a master's in instructional technology from MidAmerica Nazarene University. For more information and a full list of the 2011 PAEMST recipients, see the National Science Foundation News.
--MidAmerica Nazarene University
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