Eric Levine

Holyoke High School, Holyoke MA

Participate in the Center for Disease Control's Science Ambassador Fellowship Program in Atlanta to deepen expertise in public health, allowing me to develop curricular experiences that prepare my students for their chosen career path.

Where I've Been

  • Atlanta, Georgia

My Fellowship in Images

CDC Science Ambassadors conduct a "spot map" activity to track the cause of a disease outbreak.
Taking a tour of the CDC's David Spencer Museum, a branch of the Smithsonian Institute. The museum is a key tool for telling the story of the CDC's history as a public health agency.
Science Ambassadors worked with newly inducted Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officers to analyze data from a simulated outbreak. EIS officers are on the front line of public health, investigating and solving disease outbreaks.
Trying on the real equipment - Biosafety Level 4 suits!
Students create "epi curves" to determine the onset and patterns of outbreaks.
CDC Science Ambassadors visits the CDC's Emergency Operations Center, a 24/7/365 management facility for worldwide disease management.

Your Personal and Professional Growth

How have your knowledge, skills and capabilities grown?

I emerged from the CDC summer course with a renewed passion for integrating real world issues in science and health into my classroom. I gained an appreciation for the extent to which public health reaches all communities. My knowledge of what comprises public health and how it can be integrated into a school setting increased. I have access to high quality resources and professionals in the field of public health to design and implement curriculum as it fits my classroom and my school.

As a result, in what ways will your instructional practice change?

My role has shifted from classroom teacher in one school to coach in a different school district. As such, my personal instructional practice has shifted from working with high school students to working with high school science teachers. My practice will include careful use of the resources I have gathered to model for science teachers how to select and use these resources and co-designing and planning real world lessons and curriculum that has public health at the center.

What is the greatest personal accomplishment of your fellowship?

I was awarded a very competitive national fellowship at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I was one of thirty of over 300 applicants from all over the world. I have since switched roles and moved school districts and now have an opportunity to revise a high school science program that truly incorporates the important subject of public health.

Impact on Your Classroom, School and Community

How will your experiences positively impact student learning in new ways?

As I now work to coach 13 science teachers in a large urban high school, I will work collaboratively to create new curriculum within existing science courses, and more exciting, create new courses that incorporate public health. The “medical/life science” academy offers the ability to create new courses and revise old courses to better serve students interested in a career pathway in these areas. Courses such as epidemiology, and intro to public health are three of these possible new courses.

What are your plans for working collaboratively with colleagues?

As I described above, I will work collaboratively with other science teachers, school administration, local professionals in the medical and life sciences and my newly formed relationships with other CDC Science Ambassadors and scientists at the CDC to create a high school program and coach science teachers to deliver a rigorous, real world experience for students interested in the medical and life sciences.

Imagining the Future

How do you envision celebrating of your students’ new learning?

As the launch of our new Medical Life Sciences Academy ensues, the science teachers and school leaders will track student success and call out these successes as models for others to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new school and science-teaching model. Direct celebrations may include photos, publication on the school district website and local newspapers.

Are there issues or challenges in your school, community or the greater world about which you and your students might try to make a difference?

My school is situated in a high poverty, racially diverse city where public health is a major concern. As students learn about public health and apply it to their choices for internships and college applications, I expect that we will graduate students passionate about. and ready to become expert in these issues making a difference in their local community. Before then I expect that local experts will work with our students to bring real, local health issues to the forefront of learning.

How would you describe to a friend or a grant funder the most fundamental ways in which your fellowship has changed your personal and/or professional perspective?

I was able to attend a unique opportunity that will change the way science is experienced in my school. I was able to learn in Atlanta for 5 days and purchase classroom resources for new courses. I now have access to an entire realm of professionals on the front line of public health that I did not before. These are the very scientists and professionals that I hope will inspire our students to one day replace them as the field of public health continues to increase in importance in our country.