This summer I thought I was going to be living in NJ, relaxing and spending my time lakeside in NJ, but those plans quickly changed when I was given a wonderful opportunity to participate with a 6-week Research Experience for Teachers (RET) at Boston University (BU). Basically the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsors programs like this in order to get high school and middle school teachers into actual research laboratories so that we can get a first hand experience in a research laboratory and then bring this experience back to you, our students.
I am one of eight participants in BU’s RET program in Biophotonics. (What is Biophotonics you may ask? We’ll get to those details in a later post).
As a middle school science teacher, I was paired up with a gentleman, named John Walsh, who teaches high school Biology AP and Environmental AP at BC High. The two of us were placed in a lab that uses light as a biosensor, which basically means the light (UV, LED lights, or lasers) are used to detect a biological or chemical substance and quantify it (aka: find out how much of the substance is present); our lab specifically works to detect viruses.
My partner, John and I are going to develop our own research project for the summer. John has had experience working with bacteria, so we’re going to use the lab equipment to detect the presence of bacteria, which could possibly serve as a water quality analysis in a marine ecosystem in the real world (as opposed to simply in a laboratory).
I keep referring to myself as a sponge, soaking up as much information as I can! My learning curve is exponential and I’m looking forward to the upcoming weeks…