Uni High teacher honored for ‘effective and innovative’ lessons on ocean science

A second-year University High School teacher has been awarded an Ocean Science Leadership Award by Quiksilver, USC and other sponsors of the annual QuikSCience Challenge.

Uni’s Katie Levensailor received the honor on Thursday, April 5 during a special recognition ceremony at Quiksilver’s Huntington Beach headquarters. The Ocean Science Leadership Award is presented in four categories, and Levensailor took home the Early Career Award, which goes to new educators who use “effective and innovative” approaches to teaching the ocean sciences.

“I feel very fortunate to be the recipient of the Ocean Science Leadership Award,” she said in an email Friday. “I could not achieve these goals without the support of my colleagues, administration and students. I am truly blessed to work with a group of people who inspire, encourage and guide me.”

Levensailor, who was also named an IUSD Teacher of Promise this year, has been credited with bringing science lessons to life with engaging, real-world applications — all while demonstrating that each student has the power to make an impact.

Her marine science students, for example, raised threatened abalone in the classroom and learned about their growth before releasing them back to the sea, according to David Knight, chair of Uni’s science department. In addition, Knight said, Levensailor teamed up with the Boeing Co. to work on water quality issues in the Newport Back Bay, and she brought students to Crystal Cove to learn more about shore birds and estuaries.

“Her students are making connections between the classroom and not only our local community, but the global community,” Knight said. “Since coming to Uni, she has written and received numerous grants to support and expand the marine science program. This is a well-deserved honor and a testament to her hard work and dedication to her students.”

Ocean Science Leadership Award nominations must be supported by a one-page narrative that describes each candidate’s contributions. Applications are later judged by a panel of ocean educators, scientists and enthusiasts from USC and Quiksilver.