JCC conducts HURI SURI training for area teachers

JAMESTOWN – James-town Community College hosted an intensive “boot camp” this summer for teachers in eight area schools who are participating in the HURI SURI program offered through JCC’s biotechnology degree program.

Program director and associate professor of bio-technology 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 re-search experiences at JCC.”

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

Participants included Lon Knappenberger, West-field Academy & Central School; Pam Patterson, St. Mary’s Area High School; William Hunter, Fillmore High School; Boyd Fitzsimmons, Otto-Eldred Area High School; Susan Lee, Bradford Area High School; Kelly Schrantz, Cassadaga Valley Central School; Lennart Liffner, Sherman Central School; and David VanEarden, Sherman 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,” notes HURI SURI project manager Tim Johnson. With extensive backgrounds in teaching, the participants quickly familiarized themselves with the curriculum materials, key concepts, and research techniques their students will learn.

“They are excited about being able to teach a course that reflects how science is actually done today, employing the same sophisticated equipment used in the academic and commercial scientific community worldwide,” said Johnson. “We are delighted with our continued engagement with area school districts and their students, many of whom matriculate to JCC.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) 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.