SEP Scientific Partners & Mentors

In the Scientific Education Partnership program (SEP), scientific mentors select teachers they would like to partner with from the applicant pool in late March/early April. Mentors work with their teachers to design a hands-on lab activity related to their mentor’s research that they then conduct during the week they visit their mentor’s lab. The activity is typically a mock set up using experimental techniques that are a part of your regular workflow (miniprep, PCR, running gels, etc.). Teachers are also highly encouraged to participate in one of the lab’s group meetings.

Mentors also learn about current issues in science education from teachers. We encourage mentors to visit their partner teacher’s classroom during the school year as teachers implement molecular biology labs with their students.

Mentor Information

We welcome scientists working at Fred Hutch or other nearby research institutes to serve as mentors to science teachers in Washington State. Register now to join SEP as a scientific mentor or review details via the Mentor Recruiment Flyer. For more info, email or register for one of our info session starting January 2024.

Program Dates

The 2024 SEP mentor schedule:

  • Mentor Applications Closes: Sun, April 28, 2024 | 1:59pm PST (Applications received after may still be considered)
  • Virtual Orientation: TBD
  • Teacher/Mentor Dinner: Thurs, June 27 | 6:00-7:00pm (dinner provided)
  • Mentor Lab Week: July 15-19 (hours will be set with your mentee)
  • Open House: July 26  |  11:00am-1:00pm*

*Times are tentative and will be confirmed before the program date

Mentor Info Sessions

Mentor Info Sessions are available 12:00-12:30pm on Wednesdays starting Jan 10, 2024. Please email to register.

Mentor Responsibilities

During your SEP mentorship, you will:

  • Work with your teacher to design hands-on lab research activity they can conduct during their time in your lab.
  • Host the teacher in your lab for five days and help direct their lab work (this should not be a job shadow).
  • Prep your teacher to work in your lab including any safety training.
  • Help your teacher to schedule interviews with at least two other people at Fred Hutch (either a different lab position or career path).
  • Spend time discussing their teaching situation, understanding current theories of learning and teaching, and learning about the broader science education context in the United States.
  • Arrange for your mentee to attend a lab meeting, either in your lab or another lab.
  • Attend the Open House/Poster session.
  • Participate in program evaluation and provide feedback.
  • Keep in contact with your teacher during the school year, as a resource to answer questions.
  • Develop a talk and activity with your teacher that you will use to teach high school students about your work.

Info for current SEP mentors

Lab Research Activity

Teachers learn the basics of working with DNA in a 5-day session prior to joining you in the lab. They practice pipetting and gain familiarity with bacterial transformation, restriction enzyme digests and gel electrophoresis. SEP emphasizes hands-on learning, so please give your teacher the opportunity to participate actively in experiments.

Example activities include molecular biology procedures, such as plasmid mini-preps, ELISAs or PCR. It is important they understand why they are doing the procedures and how those procedures relate to the big picture for your lab or the questions you are exploring.

SEP teachers truly enjoy their immersion in a research lab. Performing bench science, interacting with the group members and attending lab meetings broadens their understanding of  how scientists interact, and how they discuss different experimental approaches and make sense of their findings.

Learning From Your Teacher

Both scientists and science educators are professionals with much to learn from one another. We hope you use your mentorship opportunity to learn about strategies for teaching scientific ideas, as well as learning more about education in general.

The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are based on a three-part framework that interweaves big themes, specific core content or discipline-specific knowledge, and common inquiry-related practices used in science and engineering. Washington is one of many collaborating states adopting NGSS as the framework for setting learning performance standards and expectations for each grade level. You can familiarize yourself with these standards by visiting the Next Generation Science site.

For more information or questions