• Two PPS high school science teachers selected for prestigious research partnership

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    Rachel Stegner (above) and Amy Sutton (below, right).

    Rachel Stagner, Madison High School chemistry teacher, and Amy Sutton, Benson High School biology teacher, recently returned from San Diego, where they presented research to other science educators as part of the Murdock Partners in Science program. 

    "The partnership encourages collaboration between higher education and high school teachers, with the ultimate goal of increasing students' exposure to real scientific research and institutions of higher learning,” Stagner said. “Hopefully, seeing role models engage in meaningful research will encourage students to pursue careers in science, too."

    Stagner and Sutton were picked for the prestigious program last summer, giving them the opportunity to conduct research they are interested in with scientists who are experts in their field. Stagner is working with an Oregon Health and Science University researcher on caloric restriction in rhesus monkeys and how it could ultimately improve the health of aging humans.

    Sutton’s research involves testing a soil-dwelling bacteria to see if it produces antibiotics that could someday be used with chemotherapy treatments. She is working with a University of Portland professor on her research.

    The program lasts two years, and teachers receive a $15,000 stipend for research and professional development.  Murdoch partners can apply for an additional $7,000 grant to fund supplies in their classrooms at the end of the two years.

    At the San Diego conference, Sutton and Stagner presented posters explaining their research. At next year’s conference they will give a full presentation to attendees.

    “The program is helping me tie in more authentic science experiences with my students. I can relate examples and better plan science investigations and discussions," Sutton said.

    Both Stagner and Sutton hope other PPS science teachers will apply for the program.  For more information about the program, see the website of its sponsor, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

    -Pamela Jordan