GFP Graduate, Helen Corveleyn, Awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching


President Joe Biden has named Global Field Program graduate Helen Corveleyn MAT ’20 as a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Corveleyn is among 117 individuals and organizations honored with a Presidential Award, which is the highest award kindergarten through 12th grade mathematics and science teachers can receive from the U.S. government.

“I am deeply appreciative of the inspiration that America’s teachers and mentors provide every day to support the next generation of STEM professionals,” said President Biden. The White House announced the PAEMST awardees on Feb. 8, 2022.

“STEM education is paramount for creating future leaders and innovators in science which is at the heart of understanding our complex world,” said Corveleyn. “I am deeply humbled to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and to contribute to shaping the young minds of our nation. This award recognizes the dedication to my deep love of science, conservation, the environment, and the importance of the human connections between a teacher, her students, and her community.”

Corveleyn earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the biological sciences from Miami University through Project Dragonfly‘s Global Field Program while working full-time as a science teacher at Hopewell Elementary School in Hopewell, N.J. In addition to being an MAT graduate, Corveleyn also serves on the instructional team of Miami’s Earth Expeditions.

Corveleyn’s international fieldwork with Project Dragonfly included studying island biogeography and whale sharks in Baja, Mexico; investigating orangutans and sustainable palm oil solutions in Borneo; and creating a multimedia-based conservation campaign to support the Belize Zoo and Maya Forest Corridor. Corveleyn connected many of her master’s assignments into her work as a science educator. She facilitated student action groups including “Plastic Pollution Preventers,” “Pollinator Protectors,” and “Little Locavores.”

“Project Dragonfly helped me rediscover myself as a scientist,” said Corveleyn. “After 20 years in the K-8 classroom, I was reinvigorated by the international field work, incredible instructors, and stimulating coursework offered in this unique field-based master’s degree. I am forever grateful to Dragonfly for giving me wings to reach new heights in conservation.”

Her additional accolades include being a Governor’s Educator of the Year award recipient (2019), New Jersey County Teacher of the Year (2020), and “I Can STEM NJ Role Model” for the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (2021). Her hometown newspaper, the Hopewell Valley News, recently published a news article about Corveleyn and her receiving the PAEST.

Corveleyn in Baja, Mexico, preparing to snorkel in the Gulf of California, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on her Earth Expeditions: Baja course.