Fred Hutch Mentors Teachers and Makes Science Accessible

Science Teacher Tara Maloney had the opportunity to intern with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center this summer and will bring back the latest science research techniques to EC students.

Giving access to the latest science research techniques to EC students was one of the great benefits of EC Science Teacher Tara Maloney’s experience this summer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Maloney was one of only 27 Washington teachers that were chosen to participate in a Science Education Partnership (SEP) internship at the center. Established 26 years ago, this program brings the latest lab techniques in microbiology to students through the education of science teachers. More than 500 teachers have participated in the program which is funded partly through private supporters and by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

During the intensive 13-day internship, Maloney worked closely with scientist mentors to gain skills and expertise in molecular biology that she is excited to share in the classroom. During the internship, she was able to conduct research with a SEP mentor scientist to determine what proteins were being made and expressed on the cell surface of cell lines. Maloney also created a comprehensive curriculum project she will use in her classroom this year. The curriculum is focused on protein structure and function to better understand p53, a commonly mutated gene that can lead to cancer.

“This [internship] offered me an opportunity to learn and grow from not only scientists, but other teachers in the area,” Maloney said. “I have a built-in network that I can ask [for] advice and support from and that can expand what we do here at EC.” Coincidentally, Maloney’s SEP scientist mentor, EC alumna Savannah Cook ‘06, was a former student of EC Science Teacher Laurie Matthews.

Access to the Fred Hutch SEP Kit Loan Program is a another advantage of internship participation and an opportunity for EC students to work with biomedical research concepts and tools in the classroom. Maloney can check out the classroom kits including supplies and SEP lesson plans and use them throughout the school year at no cost. Classroom kits include gel electrophoresis, bacterial transformation, DNA extraction and chromatography to name a few. These kits offer teachers the opportunity to share their SEP laboratory experience with students and give students a chance to use the same tools and techniques as research scientists.

Maloney’s science class will certainly be an exciting and cool place to be on campus this year!

You can find more information about the Fred Hutch internships and a picture of Ms. Maloney in action during her internship online.