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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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