Syngenta Schools Educators in Agribusiness
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The Summer Fellows begin their week by working in laboratories alongside Syngenta researchers in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Then the teachers travel to Minnetonka, Minnesota, to see seed products in field trials. Their last visit is to Washington, D.C., where they gain insights into the regulatory process. These locations give participants a well-rounded view of agriculture they can share with their students.
Here’s how three Summer Fellowship Program alumni are bringing what they learned from Syngenta to their classrooms:
- Heather McPherson, who teaches biology and other sciences at West Columbus High School in Cerro Gordo, North Carolina, says, “Getting to see the whole process from the initial idea to the final product was beneficial.”
Following her experience as a Summer Fellow, McPherson devised a lesson plan that required students to find possible solutions to a crop production problem. They created a theoretical genetically modified product containing a trait to help their crop survive and produce higher yields. Then the students put together a marketing plan for their new product. McPherson also tasked them with analyzing data and addressing the problem of feeding the world’s growing population with limited land available for food production. “They saw that this is a real issue needing solutions,” McPherson says.
- Mariel Sellers, who teaches at East Columbus High School in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina, says that working alongside Syngenta scientists helped her better understand “the huge role that biotechnology plays in agriculture and medicine.” The fellowship program opened her eyes to every step involved in bringing a biotech product to market. While most of her students have strong connections to agriculture, many don’t know about the important role of biotechnology and agribusiness in the world, she says.
- Christi Rogerson, who teaches at the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience in Jamestown, North Carolina, was surprised to learn how many agriculture-related careers there are within Syngenta itself—from on-site nurses to publicists to lawyers and more. She’s now sharing these insights with her students.
“Our industry is steeped in science and technology,” says Lisa Zannoni, global head of regulatory and stewardship for seeds at Syngenta. She is also the driving force behind the company’s efforts to support STEM education. “Syngenta is proud to support our Summer Fellows, who are teaching the next generation about the boundless opportunities available in ag.”
“Syngenta is proud to support our Summer Fellows, who are teaching the next generation about the boundless opportunities available in ag.”
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