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Bay Area science teachers play researchers for the summer

outreach program.jpg

For eight weeks this summer, a group of Bay Area science teachers have found themselves pipetting, poring over data, and white-coating it in laboratories across the Stanford campus. The 24 middle- and high-school teachers are part of the university's Summer Research Program for Teachers, which was designed to give local teachers a personal taste of the academic research world. From a Stanford Report article:

The purpose of the program is to re-energize teachers, to expose them to a broad array of scientific fields and to give them in-depth, hands-on research experiences. The goal is to send the teachers back to their classrooms filled with more confidence and enthusiasm - and more knowledge - about the world of science and engineering research and its applications.

"The possibility of working in a research lab at Stanford was a big draw for me," said [Karen Truesdell, a biology teacher at Milpitas High School], who will begin her 11th year of teaching this fall. "I'll be able to bring some of that experience back to my students."

Program participants, who spend four days in the lab and also attend science and engineering lectures, lab tours and seminars on teaching, work alongside researchers in a variety of discplines, including medicine, bioengineering and chemistry. Truesdell landed in the laboratory of Lawrence Steinman, MD, whose work focuses on the origin and development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases:

Truesdell said the summer program has been inspiring as well as educational.

"I'm working with an amazing group of people who have an in-depth knowledge of neurology and immunology, and the application of that knowledge to multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases like it," she said. "I'm working with people who really care about finding a cure and treatments for multiple sclerosis."

Photo by L.A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

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