Knowledge gained will enrich curriculum

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: DEB GIVENS - Westside Christian High School science teacher Angela Little instructs students in her anatomy and physiology class while dissecting a cat. From left: Kimberly Vreugdenhil, Emily Eastburn, Ashley Mori and Meg Anthony.A Westside Christian High School science teacher landed a $15,000 Partners in Science Program grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

The Lake Oswego private school announced last week that the trust had awarded Angela Little the grant. It will allow Little to spend the next two summers in a laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University’s Oregon National Primate Research Center.

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 dollars support the construction of two science labs at the school’s future site in Tigard, where it will relocate this fall. 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. (Jack) 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.

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