Strong relationships with local academy partners is the key to building effective business engagement in our high schools. The Academies of Nashville provide students with meaningful, hands-on learning in context through unique partnerships with local businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Teacher Team Externship Program gives teachers an opportunity to have a real-world professional experience at a host organization to develop a project-based curriculum that gives students industry exposure and applied learning. Teachers from Stratford STEM Magnet High School had the opportunity to have an externship with their business partner, the Diatech Oncology.
Upon arriving at Diatech Oncology, a Canadian company new to the United States that offers “the test that tailors your cancer treatment,” we were greeted by our primary host, Patti Ward. We were taken to their conference room and provided an introduction to the key players and an overview of the company. Our team was provided a tour of the facilities and given an overview of laboratory safety procedures. We were also given an in depth idea of what the company does with cancer cells from its training director, Muhammed. On day two we spent more time in the lab with greater introductions to the technology utilized and the chemicals, incubators, and areas where work is completed.
On our final day we examined how their robot mixes the treatment medications with the cells and then how they view that data through their computers. We further went through the process of how they examine samples from the time they arrive through all testing and data collection. The three days were and incredibly interesting and amazing experience for our team. The information involving the research on cancer cells will be expanded into our PBL units involving the ethics involved with cell research through the study of the 1950’s case of Henrietta Lacks.