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October 29, 2003
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU's Carl Ojala named Outstanding Michigan Earth Science Teacher


YPSILANTI - Carl Ojala, professor of geography and geology at Eastern Michigan University, has been named Outstanding Michigan Earth Science Teacher by the Michigan Earth Science Teachers Association (MESTA).

Ojala, who received the award at the Metro Detroit Science Teachers Association’s annual conference Oct. 25 at Lawrence Technological University, was honored with a plaque and a monetary honorarium.

While the award is usually given to an outstanding K-12 teacher, Ojala deserved to be recognized because he has taught many of the K-12 teachers in the area, said Bill Nedela, a MESTA board member,

"'Oj' carries the flag for earth science educators everywhere," said Nedela. "He has invigorated all of us with his energy and the special pizzazz of his teaching style!"

Ojala teaches weather and is known in Michigan as "Mr. Tornado," said Nedela. His enthusiasm and passion for the subject is very evident and it translates to the students, he said.

"I’m really honored," said Ojala, who has been at EMU since 1970. "This award means a lot to me since it's from many of my former students."

Ojala's other honors include the EMU Distinguished Faculty Senior Teaching Award, the United States Department of Commerce/National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Environmental Hero Award and the National Weather Service Special Service Award.

Ojala is a member of the Association of American Geographers, the Michigan Academy of Science, the American Meteorological Society (southeast Mich.) and the National Lightning Safety Group.

MESTA, established in 1966, is a leading organization in the promotion of quality earth science education. Its 300 members are K-12 teachers, college and university instructors, students, and other people interested in earth science.


Eastern Michigan University is a public comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU’s Eastern Experts on-line at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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