Montana Tech's Rayelynn Brandl Receives Award from National Science Teachers Association


Rayelynn BrandlThe National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) announced the winners of the 2019 NSTA Teacher Awards program, which honors K–12 teachers, principals, professors and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education.

“Through their hard work and dedication, these outstanding educators are making a difference,” said NSTA President Christine Royce. “They make science come alive for their students and help them realize the importance of science in their daily lives.”

“I am honored to be selected by NSTA for this award,” noted Brandl. “This award is truly a reflection of the work of the entire CFWEP staff team. The members of my team have been tireless in their efforts to reach thousands of students and hundreds of teachers across our state. I hope to continue a legacy of excellence in programming long into the future. Thank you to NSTA and Linda Rost for nominating me.”

Brandl, the Program Director of the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP) at Montana Tech was honored along with a number of other top science educators from around the country. She received the NSTA Distinguished Informal Award sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP).

Brandl has worked for CFWEP for 11 years. CFWEP’s mission is to foster environmental stewardship and scientific-decision making through direct experiences in the classroom and local environments CFWEP’s core programming enlists students in learning about the damages to their watershed, the clean-up and restoration efforts, and the future land-use planning. CFWEP partnered with Dr. Marisa Pedulla for the Bringing Research Into the Classroom (BRIC) Science Education Partnership Award from that National Institute of Health. The BRIC project partners visits classrooms throughout the state of Montana and engage students in Dr. Pedulla’s phage research program.

Ms. Brandl and her project team lead the Montana Partnership with Regions for Excellence in STEM (MPRES) Project, which has trained highly qualified teachers to provide training for teachers throughout the state of Montana. In 2018, Rayelynn was recognized by the Montana Science Teachers Association for exemplary service to science education in 2018 and in 2016 was awarded the Award of Excellence in Education by MSU Billings.

“We are delighted that the hard work of Rayelynn Brandl and her CFWEP team has caught the eye of the National Science Teachers Association,” explained Amy Verlanic, Executive Director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech. “They certainly have tested and proven that placed based science pedagogy is an effective intervention to keeping students in the STEM pipeline. Ms. Brandl’s work is reflective of Montana Tech’s high standard of excellence in STEM disciplines and extends our reach from the university setting to K-12 in an important way.”

Brandl will be presented with the award at a special banquet and ceremony on Friday, April 12, 2019, at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in St. Louis, Missouri. A complete list of all those honored can be found by visiting

A reception honoring Rayelynn will be held on Monday, April 29, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Butte Brewing.