February 22, 2007

SIUC to host biotechnology teacher-leader seminar

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale next week will play host to a gathering of high school, junior high and middle school teachers as they learn better ways to teach the evolving, interdisciplinary sciences involved in biotechnology.

SIUC is one of three sites statewide to play host to the 2007 Illinois Biotechnology Teacher-Leader Program. Programs will take place later this year in Skokie and Champaign.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the Illinois Biotechnology Teacher-Leader Program. The daylong event is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Southern Illinois Research Park, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Carbondale.

The SIU system last year joined the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, a consortium of academic, industrial and entrepreneurial and governmental entities that champion the life sciences and biotechnology education and training in Illinois.

Biotechnology leads the way in many areas of applied science, including fuels, agriculture and medicine, to name a few. IBIO officials want to share new ways to approach science education geared toward advancing biotechnology.

"With all the advances in DNA, biofuels and other biotechnology, it's really difficult for teachers to keep up," said Jeff Myers, senior technology transfer specialist in the Office of Research Development and Administration at SIUC, who is helping organize the program. "They not only need to know the latest information on these new technologies, but how to convey that knowledge to middle school- and high school-aged kids."

About two dozen teachers from school districts in the southern third of the state are scheduled to attend the free IBIO workshops, which are facilitated by the Biotechnology Institute of Arlington, Va. The workshop includes free teaching materials, lunch and substitute teacher reimbursement to school districts sending a teacher. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and IBIO fund the project.

Myers said SIUC can play a vital role in keeping schoolteachers in the loop on new technologies and approaches.

"We hope that teachers will not only learn about biotechnology but also about the benefits of having a research university such as SIUC right here in the area," Myers said.

Teachers scheduled to attend include:

• Janet Weber, Valmeyer School District No. 3

• Sandy Livengood and Erin Geringer, Valmeyer High School

• Marsha Zettler, Elverado Junior High School, Vergennes

•Terry Meyer, Red Bud School District No. 132

• Brian Magee, Red Bud High School

• Shelia Tewell, Red Bud Elementary School

• Olivia Parker, Coulterville School District No. 1

• Sabrina Jeremiah, St. John Lutheran School, Chester

•Kathy Lappe and Denyse William, Mulberry Grove Junior High School

•Pam Doll, Biran Grove and Aaron Duff, Bond County School District No. 2, Greenville

• Brook Williams, Sesser-Valier High School, Sesser

• Deborah Clark, Benton Grade School

•Lori Ellis, Fairfield School District No. 112

•Danilee White, Waterloo Junior High School

•Debby Harris, Jalana Lewis, Cheryl James, Kimberly Heal and Brenda Whitechurch,

Effingham Junior High School