As new scientific discoveries are made every day, it's difficult to quickly pass that information on in a classroom setting. That's why when teacher Amanda Ooten was presented information about a seminar focusing on recent findings in biology, she and four AP biology students were eager for the opportunity.
Ooten along with Abby Arestides '17, Jillian Hammerly '16, Kelly Pleiman '16, and Megan Stefan '17 attended the "Top Biotechnology Discoveries and Applications of 2015" seminar at Kettering College earlier this school year.
"I was intrigued that it was so up-to-date," said Ooten. "In AP Biology, we are confined to the curriculum and have little time to discuss current scientific advancements. These are often much more relevant, significant, and interesting than the basics of the textbook. While the basics are important and necessary to understanding more complex ideas, it is very worthwhile to expose these students to what science is doing today."
"The seminar focused a lot on what we're learning in class about medical interventions," reinforced Arestides. "We have a small class at CJ so it was fun interacting with the other AP biology students as well."
Stefan added, "The seminar applied to what we are learning so it expanded my knowledge in biology."
"It was cool to learn about recent discoveries, taking what we learned in class and applying it in real life," noted Hammerly.
Dr. Neil Lamb, the Vice President of Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Hunstville, Alabama, was the speaker at the seminar.
"The seminar was perfect; it had interesting topics presented in a manner that were easy to understand," Ooten shared. "There was ample time for questions and answers as well."
Stefan added, "Dr. Lamb made the subjects very approachable and he related the material to us."
"When other students would ask a question I could relate because I was usually thinking the same thing," Arestides said.
The seminar was geared towards AP biology students who are interested in the physician assistant (PA) career field after graduation.
"A PA is between a nurse practitioner and a doctor," explained Hammerly. "They can work in a variety of different positions and can do a lot of tasks that doctors can do, they just don't have a MD."
Hammerly and Stefan both expressed interest in studying to become a PA after graduation.
Another seminar opportunity may be organized for the spring, Ooten added.