Kenan Fellows’ Voices: Toni Stadelman

Stadelman_BigoenConnecting Elementary Science to Bio-Pharmaceutical Research

As one of eight elementary curriculum resource teachers in Franklin County, I am part of the elementary district science team. Being part of this team means that I am always on the lookout for professional development for myself and the other elementary teachers in the county.

Science is not a subject that most elementary teachers feel comfortable teaching. Time to teach science continues to be cut to just a few minutes a day. I have two major goals for my job. One is to help teachers see the relevance in teaching science. The other is to help teachers make the connection that science uses reading, writing, and math skills so integration with these subjects is essential to the success of our students.

Observing Science in the “Real World”

In order to help me achieve those two goals, I need to observe how scientists work in their labs. I need to watch how they go through a set of procedures to accomplish the end goal of their experiments. In other words, I need to see what science looks like outside of the classroom.

By observing and talking with scientists, I have a better idea of how to frame science lessons for students and workshops for teachers.  That is just one of the key benefits the Kenan Fellows Program experience is providing me.

My mentor is Doug Osborne, the Senior Manager of Cell Culture Development in the Technical Transfer Department at Biogen Idec. Within the first two hours of my time with him, I learned that the most important skill scientists need is to effectively communicate accurate and detailed information.

Over the next few days, I observed how scientists use written information to explain complex procedures. It is truly an amazing experience.

My internship has given me a key to unlocking a whole new way for me to engage my students and show them real world applications for the skills and concepts they are learning.

2014-15 Kenan Fellow Toni Stadelman is a Curriculum Resource Teacher for Franklin County Schools. She is interning at Biogen Idec this summer. Her observations of lab procedures at Biogen Idec will help her to develop classroom resources that inspire students to cultivate a love of science. Her internship is funded through the generous support of the Biogen Idec Foundation.