Seattle School District Teachers Participate in 2012 Science Education Partnership Program
All are excited about unique opportunity
From July 9 – 25, four Seattle School District teachers had the opportunity to learn and do research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Lindsay Carlson and Lindsay Holladay from Cleveland High School, Kim Dinh from Chief Sealth International High School and Dawn Rubstello from Garfield High School participated in the 2012 Science Education Partnership Program.
Throughout the school year, these hardworking teachers struggle to raise students’ interest in science. It’s discouraging to hear many students describe science as “boring” or “not applicable to real life.” However, this is as real as it gets.
“Learning science is like learning a foreign language,” said Nancy Hutchison, Ph.D., director of the Hutchinson Center’s Science Education Partnership, or SEP, now in its 22nd year. “By participating in the Science Education Partnership, teachers explore the whole country; they get immersed. After a couple of weeks, they have begun to think like the ‘locals’ and see how the research culture really works,” she said. “As a result, their students gain a better understanding of what science really is and how it influences their daily lives.”
After working on the basics, the teachers will spend half their time working one-on-one with a scientist-mentor in a research laboratory on projects in which they hold a special interest. Some past topics include protein structure, stem cells, gene regulation, yeast genetics and fruit-fly development. In some cases, the mentors may even visit the teachers’ classrooms after the summer ends.
The other half of their time will be spent in the teaching laboratory at “The Hutch,” as it is often called. Here they will work with a group of master SEP-trained teachers, planning ways to use science techniques and concepts in the classroom and curriculum.
Along with the knowledge the teachers will bring back, they also will be able to borrow SEP science kits for the year. While some cost up to $10,000, the kits include items from the more exciting microcentrifuges down to every day plastic wrap and dishwashing detergent. The kits have all the pieces to conduct experiments on topics such as DNA gel electrophoresis, bacterial transformation and fruit fly genetics.
Further, the teachers will be provided with donated surplus lab supplies, a resource library, a $500 stipend and graduate level credit through the University of Washington.
“Our goal is for teachers to bring back what they learn over the summer to help jump-start their students’ knowledge of bioscience and research and perhaps kindle their interest in jobs or careers in science,” said Nancy Hutchison.
Some partnerships this year, which helped the teachers’ learning process, included the corporate biotechnology firm Amgen, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington Genome Sciences Department and the joint University of Washington / Hutchinson Center Molecular and Cellular Biology doctoral-research program.
In photo above, Dawn Rubstello of Garfield High School, (left) answers questions from Linsday Carlson of Cleveland High School, (right.)