26 October 2021

Secondary school students explored the skin and gained new insights at SIC


SIC welcomed a group of school students in the Maersk Tower. During the visit, the students learned about skin immunology, got a glimpse into the everyday life of the researchers and contributed with new perspectives.

Gefion Gymnasium

Together with Gefion Gymnasium, SIC has organised a mini course for third-year secondary school students. The selected class is taught biotech, which combines biology and chemistry. During the two-day course, the young people learned about the skin and immunology and grappled with quizzes and exercises in the laboratory. Teaching the students at the university enables the students to get as close as possible to the research environment, says their biology teacher, Linda Schneider:

‘These students have a deep interest in the health and natural sciences. Therefore, this meeting with the university and the research environment was essential to them and extremely motivating. It stands in contrast to their ordinary teaching. Besides, the topic – skin diseases and allergens – was new, interesting and very relevant to our students, and it constituted a new and exciting angle for us to delve into – with immunology as our starting point’.

Gefion GymnasiumLinda Schneider has no doubts that the students learned a lot from the visit, and that they also managed to challenge the researchers:  

‘The students were given a unique opportunity to be part of an authentic research environment over a period of time, and they were able to test their secondary school knowledge on actual researchers, a real, ongoing research project and relevant cases of skin disease, which was a new twist for them. Students at their age are often more visionary and daring in their approach to learning, and I believe the researchers had an unusual ‘out of the box’ dialogue with the students and were met with a different type of questions than they are used to. Hopefully, it has given them new perspectives on their work’.

Teacher training

And the opportunity to enter into dialogue with interested young students was in fact one of the main reasons why SIC wanted to develop a mini course for secondary school students. It offers university teachers – many of whom are PhD students – a chance to reflect on their own research, gain insight into unforeseen angles and build concrete teaching experience, both in the form of preparation and student-teacher interaction.

‘To participate in the course, the students must have some biotechnological knowledge, experimental understanding and a solid academic basis for studying skin immunology at this level. Teaching so highly dedicated and talented young people is a privilege, and we are therefore very excited about the course’, says​ Executive Director of SIC Liv Eidsmo.

Gefion Gymnasium

Interested in science at an early age

Besides teacher training, another motivation factor was to demonstrate to the young people the number of education and career opportunities available to those interested in e.g. immunology.

‘When you are in upper secondary school, it can be hard to imagine becoming a researcher of something as specific as skin immunology. We would like to make sure the young people are familiar with this opportunity. Of course, a lot of them already know that they can become medical doctors; this is to show them the multitude of career paths available if you are interested in a life in science’, says Liv Eidsmo. 

SIC expects to receive a third-year class from Gefion Gymnasium once a year over the next few years. For more information about the mini course and programme, please contact Centre Coordinator Bitten Dalsgaard