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Physics alum honored by President Obama

The White House in Washington, D.C. honors Presidential Award winners

Physics alumnus Brian Hanna (M.S. '91) is a recipient of the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching this year. Hanna is one of 213 mathematics and science teachers who were selected for this award from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools. The educators will receive their awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on September 8.

In addition to earning a graduate degree from the Department of Physics, Hanna also holds an M.A.T in science education from OSU. He earned a bachelor's in physics with a mathematics minor from Brigham Young University.

Brian Hanna in front of grey backdrop

Physics alumnus Brian Hanna

Hanna has been in the teaching profession for 20 years and is currently in his 17th year as a mathematics teacher at Newport High School. He primarily teaches Algebra II, International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematical Studies, IB Mathematics Standard Level, and Physics.

"I am deeply honored and humbled to receive the Presidential Award. I view it as a leadership opportunity and feel a responsibility to share the knowledge and skills I have learned and developed with the next generation of teachers," said Hanna.

"This award encourages me to continue learning and growing as an educator, to inspire my students to fulfill their educational goals, and to foster effective collaboration with my colleagues and administrators. I am grateful to my students who inspire me every day," added Hanna.

Hanna leads the Mathematics Professional Learning Community in Lincoln County School District. He also serves on the Oregon State Mathematics Content Panel. Hanna advocates for increased female participation in mathematics as an active supporter and presenter at Sonia Kovalevsky Day, which is hosted annually by the Western Oregon University Math Department to inspire young women in the pursuit of mathematical studies.

Hanna is one of four extraordinary teachers selected for the award from Oregon. One of the other awardees is Maureen Murphy-Foelkl, a third grade science teacher at Chapman Hill Elementary in Salem, Oregon. Murphy-Foelkl, a veteran teacher of 30 years, earned a B.S. in elementary education from Oregon State University.

The winners are selected by a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators following an initial selection process at the state level. Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion, and are invited to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony, as well educational and celebratory events, and visits with members of the Administration.

News sources

Presidential Awards website
White House press release