Today’s blog is from BTCI Instructor and guest blogger Jackie Mosher.
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. —Norman Vincent Peale
This motivational quote has echoed throughout my life from childhood. It has inspired me to be fearless in dreaming, to be ambitious and to reach for those goals without fearing failure. So, naturally at the ripe age of 10, my goal was to become a scientist and discover a cure to both AIDS and cancer with a secondary plan of becoming this nation’s first female President. However, as I grew older, I realized my genuine interest and excitement for science and that I enjoyed not only learning about various scientific concepts but also sharing this information with others. Therefore, I completed a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in Molecular Biology and minor in Chemistry and decided to continue my studies as a graduate student at UW-Madison in the Cancer Biology graduate program. My goal was to graduate and aid in disseminating scientific knowledge.
Why teach and not become a scientist?
Teaching interests me because of the inherent potential to inspire others in setting high expectations for themselves. It is going to be my way of positively inspiring others through the gift of knowledge. My hope is to interest people in science and if not peak their interest then at least teach them to have an appreciation for scientific information.
How did you discover your interest in teaching?
I started my teaching career by accident. As an undergraduate, my initial goal was to become a scientist. However, after my induction into the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, I found myself looking forward to the organization’s outreach teaching opportunities that involved the sharing of basic concepts of science to young students through events such as DNA Day and Exploration Stations. In graduate school, I continued in this teaching endeavor by joining the fellowship program Science and Medicine Graduate Research Scholars (SciMed GRS). There, I helped in the establishment of the Outreach Committee which has the goal of disseminating scientific information to students in the Madison area through volunteer opportunities. Many of the events hosted by the Outreach Committee targeted students in elementary and middle schools such as Nuestro Mundo Community School and Aldo Leopold Elementary School. It was surprising how much I enjoyed taking extra time from my busy life as a student to share my passion and enjoyment of science with others. After graduating with my Master’s degree in Cancer Biology and becoming a Production Scientist at Promega, I learned about the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute) during orientation and immediately knew I wanted to participate in their programs. Soon, I became a volunteer giving tours of Promega’s facilities to visiting students and informing them of various career opportunities related to the biotechnology industry. But I was still missing something….
What are you doing now?
Currently, I serve as a Biotechnology Instructor at the BTC Institute and enjoy each working day. It is a blessing to be able to finally live my dream and to share my passion and enthusiasm for science with others. During the school year, I have the opportunity to intellectually engage students through the Biotechnology Field Trips program and the Biotechnology in the World of Medicine course, teaching concepts such as immunology, PCR and molecular cloning while providing key laboratory experiences that aid in putting knowledge into practice. I also have the opportunity to introduce scientific concepts during our summer programs such as A Celebration of Life and Camp Biotech. A Celebration of Life is an introductory program for students in grades 3–8 in which basic scientific concepts are taught about life on Earth and the exploration of Space. Camp Biotech is a program for students in grades 9–11 that focuses on DNA and how it is used to answer various scientific questions.
Furthermore, not only do I benefit from the joy of teaching but I am motivated each day by enthusiastic students. Seeing a student begin to understand a topic while in my class is a phenomenal experience. Moreover, hearing students exclaim statements such as “This is the best thing ever!” and “This is cool” only encourages me as a teacher. My moon is teaching, and I am thankful for the opportunity to influence others to shoot for their moons. Besides, it’s not every day you are paid to do something you love and would readily do for free.