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Westside teacher wins $15,000 research grant


Knowledge gained will enrich schools science curriculum

A Westside Christian High School science teacher landed a $15,000 Partners in Science Program grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The private school, which is relocating to Tigard in September, announcedlast week that the trust awarded a grant to Angela Little. The grant will allow Little to spend the next two summers in a laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University’s Oregon National Primate Research Center in Beaverton.

Little will study what causes neuromuscular diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The trust’s grant program is intended to help science teachers obtain first-hand research experience that they can apply to their instruction.

Larry Sherman, the senior scientist in the neuroscience division at the Primate Research Center, will guide Little through techniques in biochemical, molecular and cell biology.

“I’m really excited to learn confocal microscopy, a microscope technique where you stain cells and they turn a fluorescent rainbow color,” said Little, 27.

She said she is honored to represent Westside, and she hopes her pursuit of scientific knowledge will prove an inspiration to her students. She said her research studies will enrich her classes — biology, advanced placement biology, integrated science and anatomy, and physiology. Sherman helps teachers develop lesson plans in neuroscience covering topics such as microscope techniques, how proteins are different and how to study deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.

Westside Christian also received a $250,000 challenge grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust last month. The award supports the construction of two science labs at the school’s future site in Tigard. The trust also helped the school get started in 1981 and provided a technology grant to update Westside’s computer hardware and software four years ago, said Deb Givens, the school’s marketing director.

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust’s mission is to strengthen the Pacific Northwest’s “educational, spiritual and cultural base” through grants and programs, according to its website. The will of the late Melvin J. Murdock, co-founder of Tektronix Inc., helped create the private foundation.

“What an honor it is to be able to once again partner with the Murdock Charitable Trust to impact the next generation of servant leaders,” said Steve Pringle, Westside principal.