JCC hosts ‘boot camp’ for area teachers

JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Community College hosted an intensive five-week “boot camp” this summer for teachers in area schools who signed onto the HURI SURI program offered through JCC’s biotechnology degree program.

Program Director and Associate Professor of biotechnology Jackie Crisman noted that HURI SURI is a “collaborative program providing undergraduate research opportunities for JCC and area high school students. It also features opportunities for area teachers to participate in biotechnology boot camps and undergraduate research experiences at JCC.”

After completion of the training, $10,000 in biotechnology equipment and $2,000 in supplies are given to high schools to integrate research experiences in their schools by offering an innovative new first semester biology course with research-based labs.

Participants included Chris Betrus of Salamanca Central School, Jennifer McMaster of Jamestown High School, Lois Crozier of Johnsonburg Area High School, Tim Shrout of Maple Grove High School, Paula Ferneza of Frewsburg Central School, Soffian Adam of Dunkirk High School, Rhonda Lee of Fredonia High School, Ben Westlund of Pine Valley Central School and Meghan Janora of Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School.

They researched the evolution of the mosquito through DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, and gel electrophoresis.

“The teachers were enthusiastic about being a part of the HURI SURI program,” noted HURI SURI Project Manager Tim Johnson. “They were excited about being able to teach a course that reflects how science is actually done today, and using the same sophisticated equipment in their schools to carry out science lab work used in the academic and commercial scientific community worldwide. We look forward to our continued engagement with area school districts and their students, many of whom matriculate to JCC.”

The National Science Foundation awarded JCC nearly $900,000 in 2012 to support biotechnology training for high school teachers and JCC students over the next three years through HURI SURI.

HURI SURI complements a $3.5 million NSF grant received in 2011 by the biotechnology programs at JCC, Finger Lakes Community College, Tompkins-Cortland Community College, and Delaware Technical and Community College to support expanded research opportunities and disseminate undergraduate research nationwide to other community colleges.