Several weeks ago a group of high school students walked into the Cell Signaling Technology (CST) atrium led by their high school biology teacher, Judy. They were visiting CST to meet with scientists and other professionals for an interactive tour of a biotechnology company. CST has a fairly open door policy when it comes to sharing our science with budding scientists- we regularly host groups ranging from local . . . elementary schools to area colleges. The most striking thing about Judy’s visit was not that the students were all women (although seeing more women interested in science is awesome!), or that a teacher would take the time out of her busy schedule to arrange an alternative learning experience for her students; it was how many CST employees were lined up in the atrium to greet Judy, who also had been their biology teacher when they were in high school.
Teachers can have such a strong impact on the lives and future experiences of their students. We wanted to take some time on this year’s teacher appreciation day (even though, let’s be real, that should be every day) to thank all teachers for dedicating themselves to educating youth and enriching the lives of their students.
Many teachers have had a positive influence on the CST family. Here’s a peek at two extraordinary teachers that we have had the privilege to work with, and we would like to specifically recognize today:
Judy, who we mentioned above, has been teaching high school biology for eighteen years and also runs an internship program for her students. When she heard from a former student-turned CST employee about our summer internship program she started bringing groups of aspiring scientists in for tours. She wants her current classes to be exposed to, “high tech, cutting-edge equipment with an application to what we are learning in class” and also to see, “how fun and interesting scientists can be” (thanks for that, Judy, we think we’re fun too). When her class reflected on their trip to a biotech company, many shared the same response, “Now that we visited an actual company that uses biology everyday, learning about extensive biology material would be more intriguing.” We love that teachers like Judy are partnering with CST to help make scientific research tangible, educational, and fun. And we love when students realize, “the cells under the microscope look like pictures of cells on Google.” Now, if we could only get them to look like the cells on insta, maybe more kids would be interested in biology.
Ms. Nikki is a STEAM Integration Specialist at a local elementary school. For those of you who don’t keep up with all the latest acronyms, “STEAM” stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM is the new STEM, with the addition of arts and design to encourage creative solutions). According to Ms. Nikki’s website, her goal as a STEAM educator is to help students, “prepare to be socially responsible, globally aware, and locally engaged.” We first learned about Ms. Nikki’s passionate, and out-of-the-box approach to science education when she applied for a CST Education in Science Grant to support a new aquaponics system last year (you can read about that program on Ms. Nikki’s blog). Her aquaponics system was such a success with students that this year she received another CST Education in Science Grant to add a vermiculture program to the school. The vermiculture program meets several science standards by teaching students about ecosystems and biological cycles, and the students will have the opportunity to sell the lettuce they grow in their cafeteria. Ms. Nikki reflects that, “hands-on learning draws on the students’ natural curiosity compared to traditional teaching approaches,” and we applaud her efforts to nurture budding scientists.
To learn more about the Education in Science Programs mentioned above, please visit our Education in Science webpage.