Eugenia O'Brien, with Lois Cohen and Vanessa Gibbens
USYD | Moriah College | Carlingford High School
Deepening the Biotech Experience (Module 8)
Using the tools, techniques and processes that are actually involved in the development of medicines for non-infectious diseases and disorders can deepen the understanding and experiences for our year 12 students and provide crucial linkages for modules 5, 6 and 8. The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) offers training, equipment and resources to enable students to conduct practical investigations into processes such as genetic engineering, gel electrophoresis and polymerase chain reaction. Hear from the ABE facilitators and from biology teachers who are running the program with their students as part of a depth study or classroom prac, and how students are consolidating learning from various modules and refining skills in biotechnology.
Eugenia O'Brien is the Senior Science Communicator for Biology and Agriculture with the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. She spends much of her time engaging high school students in the amazing possibilities in STEM, and is involved in developing and delivering a range of curriculum relevant workshops, hands-on activities and events across the disciplines of biology, molecular biosciences, agriculture and veterinary science. Eugenia is also the coordinator for an in-school biotechnology program being offered by the University - the Amgen Biotech Experience. She studied ecology and environmental science, science communication and primary education, and has worked in the fields of science outreach, science marketing and communications, and education. Her own interest in, and enthusiasm for science is reflected in her constant drive to encourage others to ask questions, test hypotheses and be involved with the most exciting, rewarding and necessary part of life – science.
Vanessa Gibbens is a Science Teacher at Carlingford High School. She is passionate about genetics and biotechnology, and engaging her students in the fascinating world of science, so is very excited to be teaching the current Stage 6 Biology syllabus. Vanessa studied her Bachelor of Science at Sydney University, before completing a Graduate Diploma of Education at the University of New England. She implemented the Amgen Biotech Experience at her school with the previous Biology syllabus (Biotech option) in her first year of teaching, and now incorporates the program into the new syllabus to cover concepts across all modules.
Lois is currently the Head of Science at Moriah College and has worked there for the last 7 years where her training has led her team on a journey to be more inquiry based and hands-on. Lois currently teaches Junior Science and HSC Biology and has successfully used the Amgen Biotech program for her Year 12 Depth Study for the last three years. With her team in her first year at Moriah College, Lois wrote a new Stage 5 STEM curriculum that has been NESA approved since 2016 and based around the strengths of her faculty. Lois is also the Chair of the AIS Science Professional Learning Advisory Committee that provides many NESA approved professional learning activities on subjects including upskilling teachers for the new HSC Science curriculum and Working Scientifically Skills, differentiation in science, helping teachers manage online learning, and planning and running AIS conferences for science teachers. Before moving to Moriah College, Lois was a science teacher and year coordinator at North Sydney Girls High School. And before moving to Australia 11 years ago with her family, Lois worked as Head of Science for 10 years at a K-12 school in Kansas City, Kansas, USA, where she also trained as an IB, MYP teacher. Lois graduated Valedictorian with a 1st BA degree majoring in Genetics/Biology and minoring in Chemistry, she has a Master’s degree in Curriculum Design and a teaching certificate for General Science, Biology and Chemistry. Before entering the academic world Lois worked at the National Zoo in DC and the Kansas City Zoo with the gorillas and orangutans.