Madelene Loftin has been named the 2009-10 HudsonAlpha educator in residence.  Loftin has 14 years of experience teaching Biology I and II, Physical Science and Introduction to Engineering and was lead science teacher in her department.  On June 1, Loftin will start her year at HudsonAlpha by developing new educational outreach initiatives and learning cutting-edge genetics and genomics education techniques.

“Our first educator in residence has been Mrs. Jennifer Carden, who came to us from the Hoover city school system in Birmingham,” said educational outreach director Dr. Neil Lamb.  “We really hit a home run with Jennifer and I’m convinced we will do the same with Mrs. Loftin this year.”

The program invites a high school science teacher from Alabama to take a professional leave of absence from his or her school to enter a yearlong internship at HudsonAlpha. The teacher is immersed in both the research and commercial sides of biotechnology as he or she works with institute scientists and local business leaders. The educator in residence attends biotech and genetics conferences with institute staff and helps develop and evaluate new activities for students.

At the end of the year, Loftin will return to the classroom with a technology grant to purchase biotechnology equipment for use by teachers and students.

“I am the most excited about the learning opportunities that I will have in the upcoming year at HudsonAlpha,” said Loftin.  “It has been 14 years since I’ve worked in a laboratory and I look forward to getting reacquainted with the lab setting.”

During her teaching career, Loftin has received many accolades, including the National Association of Biology Teachers Outstanding Biology Teacher Recipient for Mississippi and the Jackson Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

“If I am more knowledgeable about genetics I will be able to do a better job of teaching my students, and hopefully sparking their interest in careers in biotech,” Loftin concluded.

The educator in residence program has been supported in part with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Labor through the Valley Innovation Alliance.