Beyond the Classroom: Duplin Teacher Gets a Taste of Pork Producing Operation

For five weeks in the summer, Kenan Fellows are embedded in research labs, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, agribusinesses and other local workplaces where they glean how researchers and industry professionals use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) on the job.

Kenan Fellows translate what they have learned from their summer work experience back to the classroom where they create lessons to engage students with relevant and practical applications for learning STEM ─ answering the age-old student question “When am I ever going to use this?”

2013-14 Kenan Fellow Mary Williams, a teacher at East Duplin High School, shares her Fellowship story below. Her mentor is Dr. Christina Phillips, the Assistant Director of Production Research at Murphy-Brown, LLC. Duplin County Schools and North Carolina New Schools sponsored her Fellowship.

Which departments have you had a chance to explore during your time at Murphy Brown?
A: Feed Quality Lab, Veterinary Services Lab, Engineers, Geneticist, Production Specialist, Nutritionist, Data Specialist

How has this experience affected your teaching career?
A: This experience has gotten me excited about bringing a vast array of math into my classroom. It is really hard to find real-world math content that I feel will connect to my students. This experience has given many relevant examples of how math is used in the real world, but especially in Duplin County.

What has been the most eye-opening experience of your time at Murphy?
A: The different types of jobs available through Murphy Brown and the vast array of math they do daily in their jobs.

What new careers have you learned about that you want to share with your students?
A: The careers I have learned about are not new, but they are new to the fact that I did not know that Murphy Brown employed people with these careers: Engineers, Veterinarians, Geneticists, Nutritionists

How will you incorporate this experience into your classroom?
A: I am going to have my student groups be production specialists. They will do a variety of math while experiencing the entire pork process.

When your students ask, what you did this summer, how will you sum up your experience?
A: I will explain to them that I spent the summer learning about Murphy Brown and the great jobs available for them right here in Duplin County.

*Photo by Amneris Solano: Mary Williams works with her mentor Dr. Christina Phillips at Murphy-Brown, LLC