Public School Teachers Learn Biotechnology Concepts, Tools at Free Workshop

UNC Charlotte biology alumna and Cabarrus County teacher Jessie L. Enlow stood at the front of the UNC Charlotte Biological Sciences laboratory, holding up slips of paper that were marked to represent DNA sequences. As part of the NC Science Festival series of events at UNC Charlotte, Enlow was a member of a team presenting ways for public school teachers to incorporate biotechnology concepts and tools in their classrooms.

In collaboration with UNC Charlotte biological sciences faculty members Sharon Bullock, Michelle Pass and Tonya Bates, Enlow was an instructor in the free biotechnology workshop, particularly geared for high school biology teachers. The Cox Mill High School teacher was back on familiar turf, since as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow she had earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and a master’s degree in science education at UNC Charlotte. She also was a finalist for Teacher of the Year in Cabarrus County in 2015-16. 

The UNC Charlotte Biological Sciences faculty organized the workshop and invited Enlow to join them, extending a partnership they have developed with Enlow and other teachers at Cox Mill High School. Faculty in the science departments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at UNC Charlotte have developed strong partnerships with secondary education institutions throughout the region. View more photos on the College’s flickr.

Children doing science experiments with bubbles Meanwhile, on this same spring day, faculty and students in the Department of Chemistry and the Nanoscale Science Ph.D. Program were exploring chemistry concepts with children aged 7 to 14 and their parents. With the “Colors of Chemistry” workshop, participants learned about dyes, pigments, and other colorful chemicals by making their own chromatic concoctions. Young people let loose their scientific creativity with bright tie-dye and lather printing experiments. They also learned about atoms and polymers, how scientists study these materials, and how people use these materials daily.

Nanoscale Science Ph.D. student Margaret Kocherga, who is part of the Schmedake Research Group, showed students how various elements react, inviting the young scholars to participate in some experiments. View more photos on the College’s flickr.

CLAS involvement in the North Carolina Science Festival activities also has included the 6th annual UNC Charlotte Statewide Star Party on April 20 at the UNC Charlotte Observatory, as part of North Carolina’s annual statewide star party. Even more science activities presented by CLAS faculty, students and staff — along with many others from across the university — are planned for Sunday, April 29, as UNC Charlotte closes out the North Carolina Science Festival with its UNC Charlotte Science and Technology Expo.

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