Looking for Research Collaboration with High School Biology Classrooms

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My name is Joanna Cielocha. I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My research focuses on parasites, particularly tapeworms of sharks and rays. I am interested in questions relating to diversity and interrelationships of these parasites.

I am in the process of writing a Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to the National Science Foundation. The deadline for this application is November 12, 2010. Part of this grant application includes a “Broader Impacts” component for which I would like to collaborate with high school science teachers in Kansas. Ideally, this would involve teachers in a rural or “under-served” area (i.e., within a district where few students have pursued biology degrees in college or where these sorts of opportunities are not common). More importantly, I would like to work with high school science teachers that are interested and enthusiastic about broadening science education in Kansas high schools. I envision participation to include 2-3 guest visits to a classroom. These visits would include lectures and discussions with the class on topics that relate to current course material but may not receive detailed attention in the regular science curriculum: parasitology, biodiversity, and marine biology. A brief section introducing students to the topic of undergraduate research opportunities and research-track careers in science after college will also be incorporated.

The selected topics are derived from my current research experiences and interests. They would flow nicely in a course on the diversity of animals, but could be incorporated into other courses such as AP Biology, thus being most suitable for high school juniors and seniors. The parasitology portion would ideally focus on the diversity of the parasitic platyhelminths (tapeworms, flukes, and monogenes) found in Kansas, and also expanded to include those parasites found in and on sharks and rays. This topic would dovetail nicely into the topics of biodiversity and marine biology. Whereas marine parasites are highly enigmatic, with their diversity largely unknown and their life cycles involving a variety of other marine organisms. The final topic, research opportunities and careers, could also apply to a broader audience of students, if other science teachers in your school are interested.

This collaboration would take place during the 2011-2012 school year (Fall and/or Spring) given the course schedule, with the possibility of extending it into a second school year. I would be happy to speak with interested teachers to address questions and/or ideas regarding the development and feasibility of this collaboration.

Sincerely,

Joanna Cielocha

Joanna J. Cielocha
University of Kansas
Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
1200 Sunnyside Ave.
5024 Haworth Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045

email: jjcielocha@hotmail.com
phone: 785-864-5826

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