Shannon Baird, a science teacher at The Preuss School UCSD, has been chosen as one of 14 educators from across the nation to receive a Frontiers in Science Research Teaching Fellowship from the American Physiology Society. The year-long program includes an opportunity to collaborate with local scientists in a laboratory over the summer as well as participate in an online professional development program that provides insight into how to engage students through hands-on science projects.
“I am really excited about the opportunity and feel honored to have been selected,” said Baird, who teaches three science courses at Preuss. “I look forward to learning more about implementing real-world research and inquiry in the classroom by experienced teachers and professionals.”
This summer, Baird will join Alan Hargens, Ph.D., UC San Diego School of Medicine Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, at the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest to learn about how microgravity affects blood and tissue fluids in the body. Hargens, along with postdoctoral fellow Brandon Macias, Ph.D., is currently investigating cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health among humans and animals in space. Baird will spend two months in the laboratory learning how research is conducted and exploring how to translate the knowledge to her own students.
“It was fortunate that Dr. Macias reached out to the teachers at Preuss about the program; he was very helpful when developing the proposal,” said Baird. “Having a marine science background, I look forward to strengthening my knowledge of physiology in the laboratory and discovering creative ways to integrate biomedical lessons in the classroom.”
An important tenet of the program is building community among science educators and researchers. Next April, Baird will travel to Boston for an Experimental Biology conference where she will have the chance to hear about the research of physiologists from across the nation. The event will also provide an opportunity to connect with other fellows and share curriculum ideas and feedback.
Committed to sharing the excitement of science with her students, Baird already leads several programs at Preuss to promote STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). For the past two years she has paired 8th grade girls with professionals from SPAWAR who provide insight into careers in science and engineering. She also runs a joint project with Hubbs Sea World Research Institute where she raises sea bass with her environmental science students.
The Preuss School UCSD is a unique charter middle and high school for low income, highly-motivated students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from a four-year college or university. Located on the UC San Diego campus, the school is chartered by the San Diego Unified School District and operated by UC San Diego.
Founded in 1990, the Frontiers in Physiology program supports the professional development of middle and high school science teachers across the U.S. By working alongside scientists, educators gain a research framework which they can integrate into their existing curriculum to enhance student learning outcomes. Their training is augmented by interactive workshops and online communications with other teachers and program staff throughout the year.
For more information about the Frontiers in Physiology Research Teacher Professional Development Fellowship Program, visit http://www.the-aps.org/mm/Education/K-12/EducationProjects/FrontiersinPhys. To learn more about The Preuss School UCSD, visit http://preuss.ucsd.edu.