posted July 2, 2004

Hope Researcher Hosts APS Summer Fellow

Dr. Christopher Barney of the Hope College biology faculty is hosting one of only 24 teachers chosen nationwide to participate in the "Frontiers in Physiology 2004 Professional Development Fellowships" program by the American Physiological Society (APS).

David Craymer, a science teacher at Muskegon High School, is conducting research in Barney's laboratory this summer. Barney, who is the T. Elliott Weier Professor of Biology at Hope, is one of 22 APS members currently working in a laboratory setting who volunteered to host winning teachers.

Others in the research group at the college are current or recent undergraduates: Kacie Gayheart, a senior at the University of Evansville; Kristi VanDerKolk, a 2004 Hope graduate from Holland; and Katherine Van Oss, a Hope senior from Zeeland.

Hope has hosted two APS awardees in the past. In 1992, Elizabeth M. Schanhals, a 1991 Hope graduate who was then teaching at Benton Harbor High School, worked with Barney. In 1997, Gary Lee Dewey, a teacher at Holland Christian Middle School, worked with Barney and Dr. Maria Burnatowska-Hledin, professor of biology and chemistry.

The goal of Frontiers in Physiology is to provide a laboratory research experience to middle- and high-school-level teachers, part of APS's continuing effort to promote excellence in K-12 science education. Through learning research techniques and following the scientific process from start to finish, the teachers (and subsequently their students) gain a greater understanding of science. The summer program pairs each teacher with an APS member who makes the teacher part of his/her research team. Teachers also learn effective education strategies that help them translate their research experience into classroom labs.

"For many teachers this summer experience marks the first time they have ever participated in science research," stated Dr. Marsha Lakes Matyas, APS Education Officer. "It gives them a new perspective on their teaching and the importance of hands-on, inquiry-based learning, which they can carry back to their students," she added.

The award provides each of the winning teachers with an award of up to $8,500 and includes an expense-paid one-week science teaching forum where they explore new and innovative research and teaching techniques intended for application in the classroom. Teachers will also receive travel expenses to attend the 35th International Congress of Physiological Sciences and the Experimental Biology 2005 meeting, which is expected to attract nearly 12,000 scientists.

The Frontiers program began in 1990 with 10 high school science teachers who received fellowships for an eight-week summer research experience in a physiology laboratory. Since then, nearly 306 teachers and 191 APS members nationwide have participated in this program. The program has consistently proven to help teachers increase their understanding of scientific research methods and the importance of biomedical research. It also has proven effective in helping teachers incorporate best teaching practices – those that promote both excellence and equity in science education – as recommended by the National Research Council's National Science Education Standards.

The Frontiers in Physiology Program is sponsored by APS, the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), the Science Education Partnership Awards (SEPA), and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health.

The American Physiological Society is a professional scientific membership organization devoted to fostering scientific research, education, and the dissemination of scientific information. The APS supports a variety of educational activities including programs and fellowships to encourage the development of young scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with a particular focus on women and underrepresented minorities.

APS also supports refresher courses and teaching awards promoting continued excellence in education at the professional level. In May of 2004, APS won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).

The society was founded in 1887. Its membership includes more than 10,000 professionals in science and medicine.Designed to improve science education by building connections between teachers and the research community, Frontiers in Physiology is one of several grant-supported programs that APS administers. For more information about APS Education Programs, email: education@the-aps.org or visit the APS website at http://www.the-aps.org/education.htm.