High School Outreach: part 1

High School Outreach: part 1

I was invited by my high school science teacher to come back and speak to the high school Genetics and Advanced Bio classes today about my research, and more generally how I got to be doing a science PhD.  The teachers made a big deal about how grateful they were to me for giving my time, which of course was nice, but to be honest it didn’t put me out at all.  I love doing outreach and getting people interested in and excited about science, and to be able to do that at my old high school, where my journey as a scientist really began, was like coming full circle.  It was really humbling to get such positive feedback from not just the students and teachers I talked to but also from other people around the school- guidance counselors, administrators, and other teachers- who had heard about my talk through the grapevine.

When I was in high school, I had no idea what immunology was- I really didn’t learn about it for the first time until towards the end of undergrad.  From that regard, it was a little bit daunting to try to put together a presentation about immunotherapy geared towards high school students.  I wanted to make the science accessible but still show real data and give an insight into this up-and-coming field.  That being said, I was extremely pleased and surprised with the questions and feedback I got from the students today!  I’m actually going to do a post next week with some of the questions and answers the students requested.  Luckily I stayed on my toes because a lot of the questions were not things that I expected to hear!  Then again, I’m coming at science with at least 5 more years of experience than these students; it really grounded me to realize how much one’s understanding and thinking can evolve over that amount of time.

Overall I am just very happy with the experience I had today and it makes me even more sure that a) science needs better PR (actually a quote from one of the teachers today; I like it!) and b) I like talking about science.  So while I’m not sure how I will do it, I am sure that in my career I will somehow incorporate teaching and/or outreach.

If any of the students I talked to today see this post:  Hi!  Please don’t hesitate to comment/email me/reach me through the comments form above.   I’d love to hear from you!!

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