Facebook pixel STLCC’s Bio-Bench Workshop Exposes Teachers, Students to Soil Science

STLCC’s Bio-Bench Workshop Exposes Teachers, Students to Soil Science

Teachers donned lab coats, gloves and got hands-on biotechnology lessons during STLCC’s Bio-Bench Workshop.

The "lazy days of summer” weren’t so lazy for the 15 science teachers enrolled in St. Louis Community College’s Bio-Bench Workshop.

During the experience – made possible through a $25,000 grant from the Bayer Fund – teachers became students and spent the week of July 29-Aug. 2 experimenting with advanced science techniques and even doing homework.

Lee Douangkeomany, education outreach specialist at STLCC’s Center for Plant and Life Sciences, led the workshop. The teachers got to work in the college’s state-of-the-industry laboratories at the CPLS home at the Bio Research & Development Growth Park on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 1005 N. Warson Road.

Douangkeomany said the teachers made good students.

“Educators loved it,” she said. “I gave homework every day and still received positive feedback.”

The theme for this year’s program was “Exploring Genes to Save Our World.” Workshop participants explored different genetic techniques used to increase food production, prevent and treat disease, perform environmental remediation, and more.

The teachers participated in hands-on lessons in modern agriculture led by CPLS staff and guest presenters, including representatives from CoverCress Inc., the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, KWS Gateway Research Center, the Saint Louis Science Center and STEMSTL.

The Bio-Bench Workshop advances learning about biotechnology in two ways. First, eighth- through 12th-grade science teachers or specialists participate in a weeklong, lab-based professional development experience. The workshop also included tours of the Bayer Crop Science Division research facility, KWS Gateway Research Center and NewLeaf Symbiotics.

The teachers then share their experiences with their students in the fall. In addition to instruction, teachers receive the option of three graduate workshop credits through Lindenwood University, a $500 stipend if they attend the entire week and provide an approved lesson plan, and $500 in lab supplies and equipment.

Second, the grant enables 400 students to participate in a daylong, lab-based experience that raises their awareness about biotechnology in the region and opportunities for employment. Douangkeomany will also visit area schools to present lessons.

Richard Norris, Ph.D., CPLS director, is grateful for the Bayer Funds’ generosity.

"I appreciate the Bayer Fund’s financial support in making the Bio-Bench Teacher Workshop available to area teachers,” Norris said. “This started in 2008 with the Center's initial Bio-Bench grant and has only missed one summer since. It is a great opportunity for area science teachers to learn new techniques that they can take back to their students, along with building a relationship with other teachers and the STLCC Center for Plant and Life Sciences." 

To learn more about the workshop, contact Douangkeomany at odouangkeomany@stlcc.edu or call 314-513-4950.

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