Pasadena, TX — Cathleen Baxter Swindle, a science teacher at Pasadena Memorial Senior High School in Pasadena, Texas has been named a regional winner in the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge. Sponsored by Shell USA, Inc.(Shell) and administered by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA), the competition encouraged K–12 science teachers who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package. Swindle is one of 24 regional winners named, from which three grand-prize winners will be selected.

Cathleen Baxter Swindle’s philosophy in environmental science is if you want to save the world, then you need to understand how all things are connected. Her strategies are simple: She informs the students with facts from the experts and then develops an understanding as it relates to the community and city. She uses labs, hands-on demonstrations, outdoor experiences, field trips, and group work. She has reintroduced small group debates so students on pro/anti teams can research and make an argument. She is seeking this lab upgrade because most of her lab equipment is outdated and not relevant. Students need to be able to create, test, analyze, retest, and conclude lab experiments. They also need to have an understanding about the environment and how humans are impacting the planet. Her class informs students about what is happening in the world and how those changes will affect them in the future. Students need to be prepared to make better choices than the previous generations. Her goal is to get them excited about science and the future of the planet.

“These teachers are passionate, and their support is essential for students. And, their dedication to providing science-based reasoning skills in the classroom makes them outstanding,” says Frazier Wilson, Director, Shell Workforce Development & Diversity Outreach. “Equipping every student with technical competencies, scientific experiences, and critical thinking will prepare them for a successful future. At Shell, we believe students can reach new heights when they have access to the right tools.”

To enter the Shell Science Lab Regional Challenge, K–12 science teachers located in select school districts near Shell assets were asked to describe their school’s current laboratory resources, explain why laboratory upgrade support is needed, and describe their approach to science education instruction using their school’s current lab facilities. A panel of science educators then reviewed and selected the top entries. The regional winners each received a school science lab makeover support package valued at $15,000 (for the elementary level) and $20,000 (for the middle and high school levels).

“I am so proud of all of the regional winners. Their dedication to their profession is illustrated by achieving this recognition that brings needed resources to their school and its students,” says Erika Shugart, Ph.D., CEO and executive director, NSTA.

Swindle now advances to the national phase of the competition, in which they will have a chance to win an additional $5,000 of support to attend a future NSTA National Conference on Science Education, where they will be honored during a special evening celebration.

For more information about the Challenge, visit the competition website at

About NSTA

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is a vibrant community of 40,000 science educators and professionals committed to best practices in teaching science and its impact on student learning. NSTA offers high quality science resources and continuous learning so that science educators grow professionally and excel in their career. For new and experienced teachers alike, the NSTA community offers the opportunity to network with like-minded peers at the national level, connect with mentors and leading researchers, and learn from the best in the field. For more information, visit, or follow NSTA on X, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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