Rhode Island Partners in Neuroscience Education Win Travel Award to SfN Annual Meeting
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RHODE ISLAND PARTNERS IN NEUROSCIENCE EDUCATION WIN TRAVEL AWARD TO SFN ANNUAL MEETING
WASHINGTON, DC, November 4 – Two local educators—one teacher and one neuroscientist—are one of six pairs nationwide to win an award for their innovative work bringing neuroscience into the classroom.
Andrew Frishman, who teaches grades 9–12 at The Met School in Providence, and Dr. Leigh Needleman, of Brown University, won a 2005 Neuroscientist-Teacher Partner Travel Award to attend Neuroscience 2005, the Society for Neuroscience’s scientific meeting in Washington, DC, November 12–16. For the first time, the Society for Neuroscience award recognizes teachers working in partnership with researchers.
Together, Frishman and Needleman arranged the donation of nearly 30 neuroscience textbooks to a local high school, designed a high school neuroscience curriculum and incorporated it into an anatomy and physiology class for juniors and seniors, arranged for Brown students to tutor and serve as assistants in high school labs and for high school students to tour Brown’s labs, and set up a neuroscience internship at Brown for one of Frishman’s students, Chris Emery, of Bradford. Frishman and Needleman will be bringing Emery to the meeting.
“We know that it will be a life-changing event for him,” Frishman says. “We think that this trip will transmit the excitement of the field.”
Needleman recalls that in high school she never studied the brain. On schedule to finish her PhD next spring, Needleman notes she also has “always wanted to be involved in community education.
“This partnership has been incredible,” she says. “We have spread knowledge of neuroscience to countless students. … Students have been exposed to what it entails to be college students, graduate students, and scientists. These are quite valuable opportunities for both the high school student as well as the university student.”
Each pair of partners will participate in a planning workshop to develop long-term teacher-neuroscientist partnerships, including a summer institute. Awardees will also have the opportunity to attend the wide variety of scientific sessions available at Neuroscience 2005, including lectures on neurotransmitters, healthy aging, and meditation. In addition, there are several education-related workshops designed to help teacher awardees focus more on the needs of their classrooms at home.
The Society’s Committee on Neuroscience Literacy is looking to the long term in sponsoring educator pairs this year. While praising earlier teacher travel awards as “a great experience for the teachers,” committee Chairman Dr. William Cameron notes, “It was unclear if these experiences ever led to a connection with neuroscientists in their local area.
“The new partnership awards give us the opportunity to explore the elements of existing successful partnerships that might serve as models for members of the Society interested in engaging K-12 teachers and students,” he says.
More than 30,000 scientists from around the world will gather to present and discuss the latest developments in neuroscience research at the 35th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which will feature nearly 17,000 presentations covering research ranging from single molecules to human behavior.
The Society for Neuroscience, with more than 37,000 members, is the world’s largest organization of basic researchers and clinicians studying the brain and nervous system.