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Creekside teacher recognized by National Geographic Society

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Creekside High School teacher is getting national recognition for her work in environmental sciences.

Alicia Pressel, who teaches grades 9-12 at Creekside’s Academy of Engineering and Environment Sciences, was recently named one of eight “Emerging Explorers” by the National Geographic Society.

Pressel became the second educator to receive this award out of its more than 130 recipients in 18 years.

According to National Geographic, this distinction is awarded to individuals who “help shine a light on our shared human experiences, empower the next generation of change-makers, and demonstrate the power of science and exploration to change the world.”

“I did admittedly tear up,” Pressel said after learning she’d won the award.

“I’m very honored and humbled to be nominated," Pressel said. “And I’m excited for what it means for my students to have more access to projects in the upcoming years from this award.”

Pressel has been working with National Geographic for a few years to incorporate the organization’s educational resources and ESRI mapping technologies into her classroom curriculum.

Mrs. Pressels class out working in the field
Mrs. Pressels class out working in the field (Alicia Pressel)

Working with the community is a huge part of what Pressel teaches. She partners with St. Johns County Public Works and Utilities, the St. Johns River Water Management District, Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and several engineering firms throughout Northeast Florida.

The award includes $10,000 for Pressel to put towards teaching and future classroom projects.

“The goal is to provide students with opportunities for further projects in our community, focusing on field studies and (geographic information systems) and mapping, understanding special connections with environmental science in our community," Pressel said.

“Some of that will have to wait until things calm down."


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