They could be indulging in summertime activities like in-line skating or hanging out at the mall. Instead, about 40 high-school students from the Puget Sound region will be spending the last precious days of their summer vacation immersed in an intensive, six-day science workshop at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
The new workshop, called HutchLab, will help students explore and understand genetic diseases through hands-on access to biomedical research techniques ranging from antibody assays and gene therapy to genetic "fingerprinting."
Students will attend one of two sessions, from Aug. 1 to 6 or Aug. 8 to 13, during which they will work individually and in teams under the supervision of HutchLab staff scientists at the Center's Robert W. Day Campus on South Lake Union.
The program, funded by the Hutchinson Center, aims to build strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills through various scientific exercises designed to tackle challenging, real-world problems based on themes relevant to everyday life. The theme of this summer's program is genetic diseases of blood, from cancer to sickle-cell anemia.
Using the written word, hands-on tools and the latest scientific equipment, students will benefit also from a student-teacher ratio of four to one.
"Even if they don't want to be scientists when they grow up, doing science helps develop valuable troubleshooting and organizational skills that are useful in every area of life," says Dr. Laura Streichert, HutchLab program manager and staff teaching scientist.
HutchLab, developed by a team of local secondary-school science teachers and laboratory scientists, is an offshoot of the Center's Science Education Partnership, or SEP, an award-winning statewide mentorship program for science teachers established in 1991.
Former SEP participant David Masterman, a teacher at Seattle's Lakeside Upper School, was so impressed with the Hutchinson Center's educational outreach efforts he has returned this summer to serve as HutchLab's teacher-in-residence. His duties include curriculum development and supervising students and educators in the teaching lab.
"Often, schools are proud to be only 10 years behind the times. The HutchLab and Science Education Partnership Programs together keep science education on the cutting edge and make it accessible to classrooms throughout Washington," he says. "I think that's a pretty major direction in the overall evolution of science education."
Media please note: Reporters and photographers are welcome to visit HutchLab for several days during the second session (Aug 9, 10, 11 or 12). To arrange an interview with HutchLab students or faculty during this time, please contact Kristen Woodward, (206) 667-5095.
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The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the Center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. One of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, it is the only one in the Northwest. For more information, visit the Center's Web site at <www.fhcrc.org>
1999 HutchLab Student List
CONTACT: Kristen Woodward
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 1999