La Cañada High School graduate Dieuwertje “DJ” Kast was recognized by the North American Association for Environmental Education for her work advancing professional innovation, networking, tools and resources, and dissemination of best practices in environmental education.
With more than 1,000 environmental education professionals from 25 countries represented, the NAAEE conference is a learning and networking hub.
Kast is being honored for her work with a gamut of organizations such as the USC Joint Educational Project, Neighborhood Academic Initiative, SeaGrant, QuikSCience, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Green Engagement Fund, Green Ambassadors, NOAA Teacher at Sea, Ocean Exploration Trust, NOAA Climate Stewards Education Program, National Marine Education Association and PolarTREC.
Throughout the years she has affected thousands of students and teachers across the United States. Specifically, she helped manage the USC QuikSCience with Terri Bidle, a program working with thousands of students across the country. The USC QuikSCience Challenge was a competition for teams of middle school and high school students to create projects and portfolios on a science subject related to marine or freshwater environments.
She was hired to be the STEM programs manager of the USC Joint Educational Project and the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative where she now provides science education programs for 3,000 low-income youth. She is also NOAA Climate Steward, providing formal and informal educators working with elementary through university-age students with sustained professional development, collaborative tools, and support to build a climate-literate public actively engaged in climate stewardship.