TGen, SRP, Flinn acquaint school administrators with bioscience opportunities

December 8, 2005

By hammersmith

On Nov. 22, more than 100 Valley school superintendents, principals, and science curriculum coordinators attended “Translating TGen 2005: A Symposium for Educators.”

The half-day event, sponsored by Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Salt River Project, and the Flinn Foundation, was organized to provide school administrators with additional insight on how to prepare their students for the emerging bioscience economy and how to partner with TGen researchers and staff.

The group was welcomed by Dick Silverman, general manager of Salt River Project, member of TGen’s board of directors, and event host.  Mitch Horowitz, director of strategy and relationship manager for Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice, outlined how Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap can “fast track” Arizona on a path to achieve national bioscience stature and a diversified economy. Horowitz also highlighted successful educational partnerships that exist around the country.

Dr. Jeffrey Trent, president and scientific director for TGen, related the history of the institute coming to the Valley and the need for increased public- and private-sector investments, as well as collaboration among Arizona’s education, industry, and nonprofit sectors. Dr. Dietrich Stephan, director and senior investigator of TGen’s Neurogenomics Division, then “translated” for participants how the science that TGen researchers are conducting will impact everyday life.

Dr. Rufus Glasper, chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges, highlighted the state’s long-term strategy to align education and training programs with projected bioscience workforce needs.

A distinguished panel representing various education and research entities focused on key issues facing school districts, teachers, and students: the need for greater focus on math and science instruction; starting up bioscience programs; finding funding for programs; and effective partnering with universities, community colleges, health care and research institutions, and businesses. Serving on the panel were:

Dr. Joan Rankin Shapiro, a former high school teacher and current administrator at Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, provided a summation of the morning’s activities and a “charge” to participants going forward.

Symposium organizers plan to have a follow-up session in the first quarter of 2006, specifically geared to middle and high school teachers in bioscience-related subjects.