The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.

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Brittany Johnson

Middle School Educator

Years ago, while volunteering in the then Central Islip School District (CISD) Mulligan Science Center, a DNA Learning Center Educator came to do a lab with a number of students. After explaining my background, I inquired if I could teach one of the classes. Little did I know my first lecture taught on that day would become one of many.

As a child, I was inquisitive and observant, and read incessantly; so much so the loss of my library card brought on tears. I had a strong interest in music and science, and an overall love for learning and the outdoors. Early exposure to hospitals and medicine focused my interest on living things, and how they live without having to think to do so, because of the internal dance that occurs. I also wanted to understand the human body, and the states of both ease and “dis-ease” that we experience. In short, I wanted to know how things tick, and how to fix the clock if something affected its ability to tell time.
Looking back, I remember visiting the DNA Learning Center as a child and being captivated by the Anastasia Lab. I love mysteries, and so solving a case through science expanded my curiosity about DNA and heredity. I liked that there was order to the variation, a sort of biological cause to each effect. I then participated in a Summer DNA Program creating antibiotic resistant genes held at Central Islip High School, and am grateful for my own teachers, who made sure we had the opportunity and exposure to this style of learning. I graduated with an Advanced Regents Diploma, and then went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Fisk University, and a Master of Biological Medical Sciences from Mississippi College.

Sometimes I reflect on when I used to worry about making the right decision regarding my future career when I was younger. When you have so many interests, how do you decide on just one? Being here has reminded me of this question, and provided an answer. Thanks to the varied backgrounds of my fellow educators, each day comes with the opportunity to learn something new in a field different than my own, and I am so grateful to be able to experience it.

The DNA Learning Center sparked an interest I never forgot, and driving up to the building felt like returning home. As an educator, it is my aspiration to encourage critical thinking, while creating an environment and an excitement for learning. To be able to help ignite a small part of that for the next generation, to me, is everything.

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