School for teachers
Mini Medical School helping educate science teachers and their students
By Nicole Zakrzewski
In November and December, dozens of science teachers took on the role of students as they sat and listened to scientists talk about UF’s recent research findings.
Nearly 200 teachers attended the 13th annual Mini Medical School at UF, a program directed by the University of Florida Center for Precollegiate Education and Training. The program helps UF researchers get the word out about their findings to teachers, who then bring the information back to their students.
Teachers spent the day experiencing the many facets of UF Health. Each year the program focuses on a different topic, with this year’s being “Personalized Medicine.” The event’s purpose is to provide teachers with current information on research that can’t be found in textbooks, and to allow teachers to make a connection with current UF researchers.
“The program inspires students and rejuvenates teachers,” said Mary Jo Koroly, director of the program. “It’s dynamite to work with them.”
John Hare, a ninth- and 10th-grade chemistry teacher at Vanguard High School in Marion County, attended Mini Med School for the first time during the December session.
“Good grades and test scores aren’t the only things it takes to get into UF. Students should get more involved in UF’s science programs,” he said.
The program included more than a dozen lecturers including College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., and Kristin Weitzel, Pharm.D.
The center established its Mini Medical School program in 2001. Only 29 teachers participated during the first year. By contrast, this year’s event attracted more than 200 teachers throughout Florida from Miami to Tallahassee. To accommodate the high demand, the program was separated into two separate events, held in November and December, respectively.
Brenda Randazzese, a biology and chemistry teacher at Venice High School, has been attending Mini Medical School for 10 years.
“I’ve noticed how this program has really grown,” Randazzese said. “We’re able to learn current info and take back what we know will interest our kids.”