The Houston Museum of Natural Science will be closed from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 4th.

The Cockrell Butterfly Center is closed for renovations.

Awards & Scholarships

For more info, please contact Scott Stevenson at sstevenson@hmns.org.


[Tabitha Vu, Molly Mosley, Joel Bartsch, Valerie Akinloye, Madison Burke]

Through the generosity of the Cockrell Foundation, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is proud to offer the Evelyn Frensley Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in Science or Mathematics and the Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science or Mathematics Teaching Award. The winners of the Excellence in Science or Mathematics Awards and Scholarships were presented at the Excellence in Science Luncheon on November 9, 2022. The profiles of the winners, pictured above with HMNS president Joel Bartsch, are below.

The deadline for 2023 Student Scholarships and Teacher Awards is September 1, 2023.


2023 Student Scholarships

The Evelyn Frensley Scholarship is awarded annually in the amount of $2,000 to two high school juniors in the Houston area. Of special interest to the museum review committee is a description of plans for college and future career and a description of projects or activities that demonstrate ability and interest in science or mathematics.

The online application process requires a completed Student Application Form with pdf files of the following:

1) two letters of recommendation based on academic merit

2) curriculum vitae or resume

3) high school transcript

4) 500-word or less essay about plans for college and future career

5) 500-word or less description of a project or activity that best demonstrates ability and interest in science or mathematics

Judging Criteria

  • Two letters of recommendation. Judges will be looking for unique and specific comments regarding the applicant.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume. Selection criteria include clarity and format, a range of non-academic interests, long-term dedication to activities and employment or volunteering
  • High School transcript. Selection criteria include: grades, electives, and AP or IB credited courses.
  • A 500-word or less essay about plans for college and future career. Selection criteria include: realistic, plan of action, connection from past to future, demonstrates original thought, uses correct grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.
  • A 500-word or less description of a project or activity that best demonstrates ability and interest in science or mathematics. Selection criteria include: demonstrates ability and interest in science or mathematics, relevance to science or mathematics, effective communication, shows creativity and personality, and uses correct grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.

Students Apply Here: Student Application Form

The deadline for all submissions is September 1, 2023.


2023 Teaching Awards

In recognition of the fine educators of Houston, the museum awards the Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science or Mathematics Teaching Award to one K-5th and one 6th-12th grade science or math teachers who demonstrate significant ability and dedication to teaching in either discipline in the Houston area. Recipients are both awarded of $2,000.

The online application process requires a completed Teacher Application Form with pdf files of the following:

1) two letters of recommendation showing commitment to science or math education

2) curriculum vitae or resume

3) 500-word or less description of your teaching philosophy

4) 500-word or less description of a specific classroom activity or teaching method that creates a love of math and science in your students

Judging Criteria

  • Two letters of recommendation. Judges will be looking for unique and specific comments regarding the applicant.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume. Selection criteria include clarity, format, higher-level degree, continuing education, extracurricular educational projects and professional memberships.
  • 500-word or less description of nominee’s teaching philosophy.  Selection criteria includes contemporary student-centered approach, measurable outcomes, differentiation, clarity and format.
  • 500-word or less description of a specific activity or teaching method that creates a love of math or science in your students that demonstrates relevance to science or mathematics, principles of science or mathematics and student assessment, as well as involving student problem solving, decision making, critical thinking and application.

Teachers Apply Here: Teacher Application Form

The deadline for all submissions is September 1, 2023.


2022 Evelyn Frensley Scholarships for Outstanding Achievement in Science or Mathematics

Valerie Akinloye, J. Frank Dobie High School

Valerie Akinloye is enrolled in the early college program at J. Frank Dobie High School and will graduate this year with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. She has excelled in and out of school and regularly embarks on challenging research projects. Valerie writes, “I have always been interested in the science of how things work, from the basic principles behind the most structurally impossible buildings in the world, to how a small grain germinates into the food we eat.” A recent research project involved gardening potatoes. She studied the process of growing plants, including soil nutrient content and pH value, water systems and their life cycle. Her garden for the project was a small box from the remains of a wooden pallet, with approximately 6 inches of sandy topsoil and compost. She planted three Yukon Gold seed potatoes in this box, diligently monitored their progress, and ultimately moved the young plants into small cardboard boxes – decidedly less favorable conditions. With continued nurturing, Valerie was able to yield five healthy potatoes from the three original plants. In college, Valerie plans to obtain a degree in civil engineering. She wants to change the world by effectively addressing global issues like overpopulation and creatively solving challenges such as space limitations of towns, cities, and settlements around the world.


Madison Burke, William B. Travis High School

Madison Burke attends Travis High School in Fort Bend ISD. Aside from being an outstanding student and leader among her peers, Madison has a profound passion for participating in science fairs and helping others do so as well. This year Madison was recognized, along with her research partner, by the Scientific Research Honor Society, for conducting one of the best cross-disciplinary research projects at the International Science and Engineering Fair. Madison and her partner created a mobile application and phone attachment to diagnose leukemia. One of Madison’s relatives was diagnosed with leukemia – it was caught early, and treatment was successful. On the other hand, a friend’s relative received a late-stage diagnosis and lost his life shortly thereafter. Madison writes, “these similar experiences with vastly different outcomes became the inspiration for our science fair project.” They created a mobile application that uses artificial intelligence to distinguish between leukemia-affected and non-affected leukocytes in a patient’s blood, based on morphological indicators with an 81% accuracy. They also created mobile phone attachments to streamline the process of obtaining a predicted diagnosis through the app. The project utilized Madison’s coding skills and her understanding of design and user-friendliness. Madison is looking to attend a university that promotes curiosity, has research opportunities, small class sizes and a strong foundation for a career as a biomedical engineer.


2022 Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science or Mathematics Teaching Awards

Molly Mosley, S.C. Red Elementary

Molly Mosley is the pre-kindergarten through 5th grade science lab teacher at S.C. Red Elementary in HISD. Ms. Mosley believes all children are born scientists and that – their questions and wonderings are the building blocks of science inquiry. She encourages those wonderings to become the bedrock of student-led cross-curricular investigations, utilizing design/build challenges, mathematical computations, interpersonal discourse, and open-ended, student-led projects. She encourages learners to ask questions, take initiative and think creatively. Ms. Mosley seeks to reach every student by harnessing their natural curiosity. During her tenure, Red Elementary has seen immense growth in student performance with improvements in test scores across each subject area. Ms. Mosley writes, “Through my lessons in the science lab, I aim to increase student engagement, provide equitable access to all curriculum, teach the WHOLE student, and introduce students to STEAM careers. I hope to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to grow into themselves and their chosen roles in society.”


Tabitha Vu, James E. Taylor High School

Tabitha Vu has a goal of success for every student in her chemistry class at James E. Taylor High School in Katy ISD. She uses a teaching strategy that intentionally engages every student and challenges them to be self-directed in their learning. She provides resources for students to work at their own pace, teaches them how to engage in reflective learning, and encourages them to learn from their mistakes in order to master the concept at hand. She believes science should be fun and exciting for all and utilizes visual and hands-on experiences to make chemistry engaging and achievable. Ms. Vu believes that everyone is capable of learning and works tirelessly to make sure her students believe that as well. She writes, “One of the most fulfilling parts of this profession is when I effectively help students, who lack confidence in themselves and feel daunted by my challenging coursework, learn that they are capable of success and can be proud of themselves.”


 
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