The Science Education Partnership (SEP) exemplifies a true partnership between scientists and educators. Since 1991, SEP has paired research scientists with over 580 secondary school science teachers in Washington state. We believe that teachers and scientists both play a crucial role in promoting a greater understanding of biomedical research in our community and have much to offer one another. Through workshops and a summer professional development program , teachers learn molecular biology techniques and participate in laboratory research. SEP also helps mentor scientists refine their teaching skills and enhance their ability to communicate science to the broader community.
Read SEP's Statement of Commitment to Equity and Justice.
Each spring, mentor scientists from Fred Hutch and partner research sites select teachers from the applicant pool to participate. Teachers and mentor scientists collaborate to design a research experience tailored to the teacher’s interests. The diversity of research projects over the past several years has included such topics as protein structure, DNA sequencing, yeast genetics, fruit fly development, and oncogenes. After participating and completing the Summer Session, teachers have access to SEP's Kit Loan Program, including complete lesson plans and all the biotechnology equipment, reagents and supplies needed to turn their classrooms into labs. Technical and scientific support is also readily available from program staff and scientists at the Hutch.
This arrangement often leads to partnerships that extend beyond the summer session, including classroom visits by scientists during the school year. These partnerships often help dispel some of the stereotypes commonly held concerning scientists and teachers.
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Chowning, J. T. (2022). Science teachers in research labs: Expanding conceptions of social dialogic dimensions of scientific argumentation. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. doi: https://doi.org/10.10002/tea.21760.
Lalish KM, Stromholt S, Curtis N, Chowning JT. (2021). Explorers Virtual Internship: Fostering Rightful Presence and Sense of Belonging in an Online High School Internship Program. J STEM Outreach. 2021;4(2). doi: 10.15695/jstem/v4i2.07. Epub 2021 Jul 19. PubMed PMID: 34485852; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8415770.
Chowning, J. T., Wu, R., Brinkema, C., Crocker, W. D., Bass, K., & Lazerte, D. (2019). A NEW Twist on DNA Extraction: Collaborative argumentation and student protocol design. The Science Teacher, 86(6), 20-27. PMC6656384
Wu, R., Brinkema, C., Peterson, M., Waltzer, A., Chowning, J. T. (2018). STEAM Connections: Painting with Bacteria. The American Biology Teacher. 80(4), 297-299. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525aabt.2018.80.4.297
Funded by NIH SEPA, Frontiers provides curriculum, hands-on scientific resources and research experiences to help secondary school teachers and their students understand what cancer is, how it can be treated, and what kind of careers are possible in biomedical research.Learn More
In addition to the support from Fred Hutch, SEP’s work is made possible in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): Frontiers in Cancer Research (R25 GM129842), a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), and Pathways to Cancer Research (R25CA221770), a Youth Enjoy Science Award (YES/CURE), from the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Additional donors and supporters help ensure the continued vitality of SEP, allowing science teachers to bring new science techniques and practices to their students. Together, we are cultivating the next generation of cancer researchers and are ensuring a broader understanding of, and support for, scientific research