Fairmont State graduate and local teacher recipient of Presidential Excellence Award in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering

Thursday, September 24, 2020

President Donald J. Trump announced that Geoscience faculty member Dr. Angela McKeen is a recipient of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Awardees come from schools in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, and schools in the United States territories of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands. Nominations and awards are facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science Foundation.

“We at Fairmont State are so very proud of Angela’s accomplishments,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “Her combination of enthusiasm and rigor, coupled with her passion for teaching and her own intellectual curiosity, not only make her a great educator, but they also make her a soaring example of the type of citizen-leaders we strive to create here at Fairmont State – Falcon graduates who have immeasurable impact on their communities.” 

Dr. McKeen earned a B.A. in secondary education at Fairmont State University and her M.A. in science education at West Virginia University. She also holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from West Virginia University.

“I had amazing teachers at Fairmont State,” said Dr. McKeen. “Judy Byers, George Byers, Jack Hussey, and Steve Stephenson, just to name a few of the professors who shaped my undergraduate education. They were not just professors, but rather they were models of solid, engaging, and inspiring teaching - artists in their craft. It was their passion, as is the passion of all great teachers, that unfolded worlds in front of us. Theirs is the inspiration I turn to still.”

For eleven years, Dr. McKeen has taught in public and private k-12 schools. For the past four years, she has taught honors physics, earth and space science, advanced placement environmental science, and seventh grade science at Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg. While working with disadvantaged youth in rural West Virginia, she began running her own science camps. Most recently, she was awarded a grant from West Virginia Science and Research, a division of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (WVHEPC) to offer an environmental camp. Dr. McKeen’s excitement for teaching science, and her active participation in all levels of science education, make her an excellent professional development provider. Several of her earth science lessons have been published and her dissertation explored teaching science using aspects of the arts in rural Appalachian classrooms. Joined by a colleague, Dr. McKeen also presented on using trade books to teach science content at the university level to the Maryland Higher Education Consortium at Johns Hopkins University. Recently, she was asked to present at a statewide diocesan conference on teaching rigorous science in Catholic schools.

In addition to teaching children in public and private schools, she has taught six years in higher education. She was an assistant professor at Fairmont State, working in the field of geoscience education from 2007 to 2012 and rejoined the faculty for the fall 2020 semester.