Meet Amgen Biotech Experience Teacher Christine Martin
Unique Journey to Teaching & ABE
Like so many undergrads, Christine Martin hit a ‘wall’ her senior year at Dundee University in Scotland. She’d soon have her bachelor’s degree in biology, but figuring out her next step was daunting. So in addition to her course work, Christine started volunteering at a youth center for children from under-privileged backgrounds. It was through spending time with these kids that Christine realized she had an opportunity to pass her passion for science onto the next generation. Following graduation, Christine continued her studies at the University of Cambridge before making the leap to teaching, where she now leads the biology department at Impington Village College. She heard about the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) after receiving an email from a local science learning center that is dedicated to enhancing the professional development of teachers. Within minutes, Christine was filling out an application to bring ABE to her classroom.
ABE Classroom Impact
- Why do you participate in the Amgen Biotech Experience?
- I find ABE fascinating and am so thankful the Amgen Foundation has made this opportunity possible for my students. Some of the lab equipment my students use, I didn’t use till my third year at university! The kids absolutely love it!
- How has the Amgen Biotech Experience helped to engage your students in new ways? (e.g., hands-on laboratory experience, good curriculum, classroom tools/resources etc.)
- Instead of listening to me talk to them, or reading a book about what they could do, they’re investigating science themselves!
- What’s been the most rewarding part of your experience?
- I absolutely love the project. When the lab begins, my students and I are equally excited! ABE gives my students the passion to explore their possibilities and potentially become the next generation of scientists.
- Can you share an example of a story where you witnessed a student ‘ah ha’ moment and begin to experience more interest in science?One of my Year 13 students told me the other day that having the hands-on experience with ABE put her in a very good position when she was being interviewed to go on to University to study genetics.
- What impact has ABE had on your students, school and community?
- Because of ABE, more students are considering studying genetics – especially international students who don’t have this type of experiential learning back home. In fact, many international students apply to UK universities after they experience ABE because the curriculum is so much better than anything back home.
- What kind of support (i.e. professional development) do STEM teachers need to be effective and spark a love for science in their classroom?
- Teachers need to be brought back to the reality of what a student experiences when they are placed with a subject that seems to be in another language. This is why ABE is so great. It gives teachers time to play with the equipment and actually see the results of their experiments.
- Name the three most valuable things that science teachers would get out of participating in ABE.
- They will gain experience using specialist equipment, and using that equipment to teach parts of the syllabus in new, exciting ways. They’ll also gain insights that will benefit their students and themselves to keep the science alive.