Jennifer Carden eager to expand students’ horizons
Jennifer Carden, a genetics teacher at Hoover High School in Hoover, Ala., has been named the first HudsonAlpha Biotechnology Educator in Residence.
“Jennifer has been tremendously engaged in our outreach to educators and will be a true asset as we fully develop our educator in residence program,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, educational outreach director for the institute. The announcement was made during HudsonAlpha’s grand opening and dedication ceremonies held today.
Carden believes many students are not knowledgeable about biotechnology as it pertains to their everyday lives and their post high school career options. “In the time I have at HudsonAlpha, I hope to absorb as much information as I can about current research and lab techniques.” She hopes to make a curriculum guide for genetics and biotechnology that could be used by teachers of varying backgrounds to prepare students to be competitive not only for jobs within the state, but also around the world.
The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is committed to providing superlative training and development opportunities for high school science teachers. “We recognize the critical role teachers play in educating, guiding and inspiring students toward meaningful careers and a lifetime of learning,” noted Lamb. To that end, the institute has established the HudsonAlpha Biotechnology Educator in Residence program. “A science teacher takes a professional leave of absence from their school and spends a year of residency at HudsonAlpha,” explained Lamb. The teacher is immersed in both the research and corporate sides of biotechnology as he or she works with institute scientists and local business leaders.
“These resident educators focus on learning opportunities that maximize their professional development and the lessons that can be taken back to the classroom community,” said Lamb.
Carden will attend biotech and genetics conferences with institute staff to experience the larger scientific community. She will also assist Lamb in expanding education programs by developing and evaluating new activities for students, as well as creating professional development classes for fellow teachers.
According to Lamb, the educator in residence serves as a bridge between the classroom and the biotechnology researcher and company. “Our goal is for the teachers to be better equipped to draw connections between academics and real world applications, becoming enthusiastic advocates of biotechnology.”