Peggy McNeal began her career as an officer in the U.S. Navy. A lifelong interest in science sparked her drive to study oceanography at the United States Naval Academy, including shipboard research in the Makassar Strait. While earning a master's degree in geosciences, she studied atmospheric processes while storm chasing on the Great Plains. These experiences and her passion for science fuel her love of teaching. As a middle school science teacher for over a decade, Peggy enthusiastically leads her students through scientific investigations, hosts star parties, shares weather forecasting and teaches awesome stuff about the natural world. Outside of school, Peggy enjoys running, hiking and biking with her husband and three grown children. She can also be found behind a telescope looking at the universe, behind binoculars checking out birds, with a compass finding geocaches, at the yoga studio or with her nose in a book.

Los Coches Creek Middle School

El Cajon, CA
United States

Broader Impacts

Peggy McNeal has pursued her Ph.D. in educational research focusing on examining teachers’ roles as climate change educators. The goal is to collect data from this that will help me to better understand how teachers identify their own conceptions and biases, gauge how relevant they feel climate science is to their curriculum and how comfortable they are with teaching it.


I hope to transform my teaching by increasing the use of active science and engineering in my classroom. I am motivated by a desire to do relevant research in the polar regions and develop long term professional relationships with researchers that will extend to my students. By pursuing my passion for both teaching and science, I hope to ignite my students' interest in science and STEM careers. I want to continue to develop myself as a leader in the teaching profession, especially as the Next Generation Science Standards are fully implemented. I am also motivated by the potential for outreach and communication with the public about exciting scientific research.