COSAM News Articles 2022 July Auburn alumna is the first geosciences graduate to receive prestigious Southeastern National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award

Auburn alumna is the first geosciences graduate to receive prestigious Southeastern National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award

Published: 07/19/2022

By: Maria Gebhardt

Amanda Savrda, an Earth and Environmental Science Teacher at Auburn High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s in secondary science education from Auburn University. She is the first graduate with a degree from the Department of Geosciences to receive the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award from the National Association of Geosciences Teachers, or NAGT.

“When I was an undergraduate at Auburn University, I received a field camp scholarship from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers,” said Savrda. “Now as a teacher, it is empowering to be supported by this very same organization to help me connect science content to the everyday lives of my students.”

Savrda was nominated by Roger Birkhead, a biology specialist at the Alabama Science in Motion, or ASIM.

“I am proud to represent Auburn University’s Department of Geosciences as well as the College of Sciences and Mathematics,” Savrda added. 

Savrda has an exciting journey with the Department of Geosciences.

“I grew up going to geosciences picnics and I was supported by the entire department as an undergraduate and graduate student,” she said.

Savrda is the daughter of Charles “Chuck” Savrda, who spent three decades teaching students in the Department of Geosciences. Now a professor emeritus, Savrda served as interim dean to the college in addition as a professor. 

This year’s 2022 Honor’s Convocation was dedicated in the honor of Chuck Savrda and all of his contributions while working at Auburn University.

And all of that rich history would bring Savrda back to Auburn.

After she earned a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in geological sciences, Savrda spent five years working in the oil and gas industry in Texas. She returned to the Plains to pursue a second master’s degree.

Once she graduated, she became an instructor in the Department of Geosciences before joining Auburn High School in 2018 where she teaches 10th, 11th and 12th grades.

“I am most proud when students gain a new perspective in my class—especially when students who do not care much for science become enthusiastic and curious because of something they learned,” Savrda said. “When they come back and stop by my room, excited to share a photo of a cloud type they spotted or news of a recent Earthquake, it is extremely rewarding to witness changes in the way students pay attention to the world around them.” 

This annual award is given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level" according to NAGT. The winners will be recognized at an annual luncheon and will have their information published in the fall edition of the “In the Trenches” publication.

“The Department of Geosciences is deeply rooted at Auburn University,” said Savrda. “Ultimately, I stand on the shoulders on those before me and it propels me to want to give back every day to my students.”

 

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