Center for Community Engagement

Sacramento: Biology Students Discover the Art of Teaching

Sacramento

CSU Sacramento biology students are discovering the art of teaching in Dr. Kelly McDonald's BIO195T service-learning course. The course, designed for students interested in pursuing a career in teaching science to K-12 students pairs students with experienced science teachers from diverse middle schools and high schools throughout Sacramento County.

The students that take 195T are as diverse as the students they work with in the field. Some have known that they want to be teachers since an early age, others have only recently been intrigued by the possibility and some are drawn to applying their biology degree as a medical or health care professional. All of them, however, appear to have gained more than they anticipated. Many students have the opportunity to shadow multiple teachers, teaching different subjects (general biology, microbiology, biotechnology, environmental sciences, as well as chemistry and physics) at various levels (freshman-senior, general-AP). This provides students with an opportunity to witness different teaching styles and learn various skills sets. They are placed in diverse settings as well, including underserved urban schools and a CPA-funded biotechnology academy.

Despite these differences, however, common themes emerge. Students often report improved communication skills, increased confidence in their teaching potential, and awareness of the diversity of learners. For James Banks, a junior biology major, the experience played a pivotal part in his/her career decision. "My biggest fear was that I was going to decide I absolutely hated teaching and would have to start all over again with a different area of interest. I no longer have any doubts that teaching is what I want to do after I graduate, and I believe this is the most important thing I have learned from this opportunity."

BIO195T will have an added component in fall 2012. In addition to placement in local middle and high school science classrooms, students will have the opportunity to participate in weekly two-hour discussion sessions. Dr. McDonald anticipates that participation in this weekly discussion will not only have a positive impact on field experience, but will also grant students an additional course unit.

Read more about service learning and community engagement at Sac State.

View campus service-learning projects promoting future careers in STEM:
CSU East Bay
CSU East Bay

Science-credential candidates at CSU East Bay are cultivating ways to bring service learning into their high school science classrooms. After learning about service learning and observing several Math/Science Nucleus projects, Dr. David Stronck's fall 2011 credential candidates were inspired to create a service-learning project for their biology and chemistry students.

CSU Monterey Bay
CSU Monterey Bay

Led by Dr. Bude Su, a team of alumni and students in the School of Information Technology and Communication Design (ITCD) at CSU Monterey Bay assisted Natividad Medical Center in cutting time and costs through real-world application of their studies. The Medical Center's training module, in need of restructure, would have taken several months and cost more than $1 million to train 700 nurses and physician assistants in a new electronic patient charting system.

CSU Sacramento
CSU Sacramento

CSU Sacramento biology students are discovering the art of teaching in Dr. Kelly McDonald's BIO195T service-learning course. The course, designed for students interested in pursuing a career in teaching science to K-12 students pairs students with experienced science teachers from diverse middle schools and high schools throughout Sacramento County.

CSU San Bernardino
CSU San Bernardino

Thanks to a Title V grant awarded in 2007, CSU San Bernardino's nationally recognized CoyoteCareers program is preparing diverse STEM students for California's workforce. CoyoteCareers is a unique cross-divisional collaboration that connects and provides students with tutoring in hard-to-pass gatekeeper courses, paid service-learning internship experiences, career development counseling, and alumni mentoring and networking.

San Diego State University
San Diego State University

Professor Cynthia Darché Park at San Diego State University is passionate about increasing students' interest and achievement in the sciences and mathematics. What started as one course more than 20 years ago has become multiple service-learning course offerings for students pursuing degrees in education.