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  • Writer's pictureJane Powel

Exceptional Science Education Changes the World, One Mind at a Time

I founded OmniLearn 28 years ago. In those nearly three decades my dedicated team and I have interacted with tens of thousands of students. Many OmniLearn students go on to develop deep, lifelong connections with science. Below is an essay written by a former OmniLearner, Brinley D., age 15. In her essay, Brinley expresses how immersive, hands-on, high level science experiences can make a lasting imprint on young learners and how exceptional science education can change students’ lives.


 

As the intricate network of agarose solidifies in its sturdy rectangular mold, I work to control my curious 10-year old fingers as they poke and prod at the cloudy white gel. I carefully remove the comb, creating deep wells within the gel and slowly release the micropipette to add my cultured DNA. The solution from the dye that Ms. Jane added earlier is the most intense blue I have ever seen. The color pierces through my goggles and into my eyes, flashing back to memories of collecting royal blue sea glass on beach walks with my mom, and frosting my sister’s first birthday cake. While we run the gel electrophoresis, I cannot contain my excitement, and cannot even fathom waiting a whole 60 minutes to see my DNA mapped in front of me. As electricity runs through the gel, it feels warm and inviting, sparking a fiery curiosity within me that is still not quelled. Ms. Jane, or Dr. Powell, as she is regarded in the science world, recognized that 10-year old spark in me, and for the following five years, has carefully tended it until it has become a raging fire for science and experimentation that propels me forward every step of the day.

Now, I cannot wait for my weekly meetings with Jane, where her motto to “always say yes and find a way” never dulls my science research ambitions.

She has encouraged me to design, execute and complete long-term experiments with creating spinach biofuel, as well as the microbial engineering of arabidopsis to improve both its drought and flood resistance. With these experiments and Jane’s mentorship, I have won first place in the Long Island Science Congress and the Long Island Science Engineering Fair, and become a NY State Science Finalist, accomplishments that I never thought I could achieve. But, our meetings are so much more than just research. Jane has been the most influential role model in my life, outside of my parents, pushing me to reach my fullest intellectual potential while also being a shoulder to lean on and a person to talk to about all the aspects of my life.

She inspired me to give back to my community through science research, sparking the fire of science in a younger generation through presentation and tutoring, just like she had done for me.

I now understand the importance of science as a way to connect us all through the power of curiosity and inspire that same message in those that come after me. Jane is more than “just” a science teacher, mentor, or boss.  She is my role model and friend. She was the first adult outside my family that I entrusted to help guide me and open my mind to the true meaning of  “it takes a village”.


 

Thank you so much for your lovely words! Brinley is just one of tens of thousands of students that OmniLearn has reached. We're you ever an OmniLearn student? I would love to here from you! Leave a comment below or email us at jane@omnilearncorp.com

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