Jennifer Marsico, science teacher at PACE Center for Girls of Lee County in Fort Myers, Fla. was one of 40 teachers nationwide chosen to participate in a food science workshop developed and implemented in a partnership between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), and the Graduate School USA. The one-week workshop for middle and high school science teachers took place in Washington, D.C. this summer.

 

At the workshop, teacher participants learned firsthand about the development and spread of foodborne illnesses; the vulnerability of at-risk populations; and the science behind safe food handling, storage, and preparation. Teachers also learned how to better use the Nutrition Facts Label to assess the nutritional value of foods, talked with scientists from FDA and conducted laboratory experiments at the University of Maryland to further increase their understanding of food science.

 

“Many of the PACE girls I teach have jobs in the food service industry or have food preparation responsibilities at home. The experiments and lessons I will bring to the classroom will better educate them about the importance of handling food safely and why precautions must be taken,” says Marsico, “Plus, it is a way to learn about biology in a fun and non-threatening way.”

 

“From FDA’s perspective, our professional development program for teachers is an effective way to support our goal of reducing the incidence of foodborne illness in this country,” said Louise Dickerson, FDA’s Project Manager for the Professional Development Program in Food Science, “An estimated 1 in 6 Americans get sick from food poisoning each year.”

 

Other teachers interested in this curriculum and how to apply for the Summer 2012 FDA Food Science Professional Development Program should emailisabelle.howes@graduateschool.edu.

 

 

PACE Center for Girls, Inc. is a non-residential delinquency prevention program targeting the unique needs of girls, ages 12 to 18, facing challenges such as abuse, school truancy, academic failure, foster care, exposure to substance use and/or incarcerated parent(s). At PACE, girls find a supportive environment focusing on their strengths through a gender-responsive approach that centers on the emotional and physical safety of each girl. As a result, PACE Lee’s most recent Outcome Measures Report reveals that 94% of girls served improve their academic performance and 97% have no involvement with the criminal justice system a year after transitioning from the day program. For more information, visit www.pacecenter.org/lee.