Today I had an interview for a fellowship. It’s the first time that I’ve ever really been grilled about my grades in my content in my undergraduate work. College was hard for me, which is a struggle that I can use to relate to kids that may feel challeneged in my classes, but I’ve never felt uncertain with my content knowledge. I know a lot of weird facts about random biology things, and I’m sure that story-telling repertoire will continue to grow as I continue to teach.
In undergrad, one of my big interests focused around Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees. We first started talking about CCD in my Ecology & Evolutionary Biology lab, and then again in Animal Behavior. This was about the time when CCD was in the news and getting a lot of publicity. On my own farm back home, we had lost 3 out of our 5 colonies to CCD. The agricultural industry was taking a huge hit after losing a vast majority of its pollinators. For quite some time, scientists, farmers, and beekeepers alike were stumped.
On January 19th, an article was published in Farm and Dairy stating, “Researchers say honeybee deaths linked to seed insecticide exposure.” My father, a farmer and a beekeeper, has used my study of bees and CCD in attempts to uncover our own losses of honeybee colonies over the past few years. Not only has it been a bonding experience for us, but it has also allowed me to use my content knowledge in real-life situations.
Isn’t this what we’re searching for when we teach students?! Aren’t we constantly looking for ways to make learning relevant to students’ lives? I suppose this is innovation — taking a new topic in science and bringing it into the classroom. Bam.
*because I was grilled…get it?