Compass Scholar Taia Saurer Named 2023 Angela Award Recipient by National Science Teaching Association

By April 7, 2023 News

THOUSAND OAKS, CA – April 7, 2023 — Compass scholar Taia Saurer is the sole scholar awarded the 2023 Angela Award by The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA). The 2023 NSTA Teacher Awards program honors K–12 teachers, principals, professors, and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education. Awardees were recognized during a special evening celebration during the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 24.

Compass Superintendent & CEO Liz Brenner shares, “Congratulations Taia Saurer on this achievement. We are so proud of the incredible work you are doing in the field of science. You are an inspiration to all of us and an exemplary Compass scholar. We look forward to following your future endeavors and seeing all the amazing things that you accomplish!” 

Saurer receives international recognition as the Angela Award winner and a $1,000 US EE Savings Bond. In order to qualify, the requirement was to be a female middle school student in the US and surrounding territories or Canada. The decision process involved reviewing an applicant on several points. The main criteria were excellence of involvement or a strong connection to science. Other factors included a passion for science, evidence of sustained accomplishments or progress and interest in science, and examples of how your interest in science has impacted others. 

Saurer shares, “I’ve always had a strong connection to science, and I’ve always loved sharing everything interesting I learn about it with anyone I can. So when I saw that I could be recognized for my passion for science, I knew this was the award for me. I’m so proud that I won this award because it recognizes young women in STEM. STEM careers provide some of the highest salaries in the world, but women only represent less than 30% of those jobs but make up about 50% of the total workforce. It’s important that we encourage young women to pursue their STEM interests, and this award helps do just that.”

Saurer, an 8th-grade scholar, started concurrent enrollment at Saddleback College this past fall through the supportive network that Compass offers scholars. She plans to fulfill her dream of becoming an astronaut. She has written many papers on using carbon-negative mycelium technology for climate restoration. And after discovering an asteroid at age 12, Saurer gave a presentation to a UN sponsored Girl Up STEM bootcamp titled “How to find an asteroid and possibly save the world.” In addition, Saurer served as a youth delegate for the United Nations’ (UN) inaugural, Our Climate. Our Future Summit. 

Robin Tojo, Saurer’s Supervising Teacher, shares, “Taia’s personal strengths are as impressive as her intellectual accomplishments. She’s an active, outgoing presence at Compass with a great sense of humor. Taia has demonstrated excellence in all that she puts her mind to. Her endless curiosity and willingness to take risks lead me to believe there will be no limit to her growth and achievements. I am so VERY proud of her!”

Saurer shares, “I plan first to become an astronomer, specifically studying exoplanets, and once I meet all of the criteria, applying to become an astronaut. To me, sailing among the stars, expanding human knowledge, and making groundbreaking discoveries is incredible.”

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 following NSTA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

About Compass Charter Schools
Compass Charter Schools is a WASC-accredited virtual personalized learning public charter school serving thousands of scholars throughout California. Catering to TK-12 grade scholars, Compass offers two personalized learning programs. Compass is committed to creating a collaborative virtual learning community, inspiring scholars to appreciate the ways in which arts and sciences nurture a curiosity for lifelong learning, and preparing scholars to take responsibility for their future successes.

For more information, visit About Compass, and follow us on social media via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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