Science Teachers Head to the Engineering Lab at UW Summer Program

I currently wear many (part-time) hats within the field of STEM education. One of those hats is as manager of pre-college education programs at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) at the University of Washington. I have the privilege of working with pre-college students and K-12 teachers within the context of neural engineering. As a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary field, neural engineering has much to offer to STEM-interested students.

Each summer, I coordinate the Research Experience for Teachers program at the CSNE, where local secondary STEM teachers spend seven weeks as research apprentices. The teachers work on authentic engineering research projects in a host lab. In addition, they meet with me for a bi-weekly curriculum design workshop. By the end of the summer, together we have developed innovative curriculum units that integrate science content with engineering design challenges. Then, over the following academic year, the RET-alumni return to their classrooms to pilot the lessons with their students.

Recently, I visited the classroom of Lawrence Bencivengo, Jr., a biology teacher at Mercer Island High School, as he piloted an Artificial Neural Network lesson with his AP Biology students. Read all about how Mr. Bencivengo’s is bringing contemporary science and engineering to his students in this CSNE blog post, written by Eleanor Cummins: “In RET Program, Teachers Turn Summers into Science.”

Applications for the 2016 Summer cohort of the Research Experience for Teachers program are available online now, with a March 1st deadline.


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