Local Teachers Feel the Love Taking STEAM to Heart

By Nikki Ross Inda - March 01, 2021

Spreading love on Valentine’s Day looked a little different this year for local educators who participated in Moffitt Cancer Center’s sixth annual Healthy KIDZ Heart A STEAM Teacher program. Hillsborough County science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) teachers heard from Moffitt experts about career paths in health care. 

Healthy KIDZ Heart a STEAM Teacher 2019
Healthy KIDZ Heart a STEAM Teacher 2019

The event took educators around the solar system through a virtual visit to MOSI’s stellarium. Teachers also took a walk on the wild side learning how ZooTampa transports injured manatees to their facility for medical care and rehabilitation before releasing them back to their native environment.

Closer to home, cybersecurity analyst Mark Fleeting discussed the importance of careers in cybersecurity, presenting an interactive map of the United States that highlighted cyber threats.  Dr. John Schatzle, director of Basic, Population and Quantitative Science Shared Resources, shared details on Moffitt’s cutting-edge research efforts and how work in the laboratory is paving the way to treat and prevent cancer.

Mark Fleeting, Moffitt's Cyber Security specialist shares the importance of protecting your identity
Mark Fleeting, Moffitt's Cyber Security specialist shares the importance of protecting your identity

Schatzle recommended teachers help their students pursue careers in science. “Think outside the box of what current and future trends in the sciences will look like,” he said. “Often students are exposed to career paths that are out of date by the time they are being taught. This is a changing landscape and getting exposure to the hottest trends and thought leaders in these fields is more important to the students than just didactic lecture on science topics.”

Moffitt has engaged in a meaningful partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools for several years, making an investment in the lives of educators, children and families around the greater Tampa Bay region.

Larry Plank, executive director for K-12 Science Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools and president of the National Science Education Leadership Association, says STEAM opportunities are important for classroom learning.

“The great thing about STEAM is that it is constantly evolving,” said Plank. “It’s innovative, challenging and fun. STEAM experiences provide pathways for kids to develop communication skills and learn how to collaborate with their peers, all while preparing them for a high-tech world.” 

Sharen Lock MS, C-IAYT Patient Wellness Coordinator and Yoga Therapist leads a live virtual yoga session with HEART attendees
Sharen Lock MS, C-IAYT Patient Wellness Coordinator and Yoga Therapist leads a live yoga session with HEART attendees

Educator Laura Gaston agrees. “I’m starting a new position next month as a graduate support coordinator helping middle school students transition to high school. The Healthy KIDZ program opened my eyes to different career opportunities students can pursue.”

 The day concluded with a soothing message of self-care from patient wellness coordinator and yoga therapist Sharen Lock, who lead the group through chair stretches and gentle yoga to energize the body, mind and spirit. 

Healthy KIDZ at Moffitt Cancer Center is a community outreach program for children and adolescents of all ages focusing on cancer prevention, healthy living, positive life choices and careers in health care.

 

Healthy KIDZ at Moffitt Cancer Center is a community outreach program for children and adolescents of all ages focusing on cancer prevention, healthy living, positive life choices and careers in health care.

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