Renowned geneticist and IU professor Sam Rhine has been educating people ranging from students to scholars on recent advancements in genetics for over 25 years. Portage Northern students got to take part in this experience when Jessica Clark and Donna Hertel’s IB Biology classes attended one of his Rhine’s famed conferences a Kirkhof Hall at Grand Valley State University on November 7, 2016.
While all IB biology students at PN and PC got to attend the conference, what they grasp and pick up while hearing the professional speak varies from student to student. According to Clark, the students retain and learn quite a bit. “I hope this inspires some of the students to go onto become geneticists as a career,” she said.
While many students felt like being a geneticist might prove to be too difficult of a career for them, they still found the trip beneficial.One student in particular, Griffin McLeod (11), seemed very enthusiastic about the whole experience. He said, “Besides skipping part of the school day, which is always a plus, it was a lot of fun and honestly pretty challenging. Though I wouldn’t say I want to become a geneticist after it, it was interesting. I can say we learned a lot about what we had going on in class and it helped.”
Another student, Kim White (11), was very pleased to be taking a trip because it mixed up the usual routine. Also, she found that the topics Professor Rhine talked about were different than usual Biology class content. She said, “He talked about embryology in the beginning, and it’s interesting because in Biology, your focus is mostly on stuff like cells and evolution. He also had a PowerPoint of 600 slides and I felt he could’ve even gone deeper in certain subjects, though I realize he assumes we know the content due to the fact he is a college level teacher.” White also noted that this could be a preview of how college lectures go.
This could become a tradition that Portage Northern’s teachers and instructors do annually. It is clear through the students’ opinions and the teachers reactions, trips like these not only give something exciting for the student to look forward to, but they provide an excellent learning opportunity as well.