Diekmans Endow Fellowship for Science Teachers
By Mika Ono
Chairman of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) Board
of Directors John Diekman and his wife Susan Diekman have
given the institute $100,000 to endow a summer fellowship
for science teachers, the first gift ever made to TSRI for
this purpose. The gift ensures that at least one high school
or middle school teacher participates in a Science Outreach
Program internship every summer in perpetuity.
"This is a fabulous gift that will help close the gap between
the cutting-edge science in modern laboratories and the curriculum
taught in classrooms," says Jeffery Kelly, vice president
for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies. "We couldn't
be more pleased."
Denise M. Scalzo, director of Development, who worked with
the Diekmans to realize this gift, comments, "A contribution
of this nature from John as chairman of the TSRI Board and
Susan shows their leadership and commitment to the science
at TSRI and to our community."
Robin Goldsmith, vice president of Communications and director
of the Science Outreach Program, adds, "We're grateful to
the Diekmans for providing this opportunity for high school
and middle school teachers to learn modern laboratory techniques.
The experience at TSRI can make a real difference in the quality
of education these teachers provide. They return to their
classrooms invigorated and inspiredwith a new set of
tools to teach their students about science."
TSRI's Science Outreach Program was started 12 years ago
to promote and improve science literacy, enhance science teachers'
professional development, and inspire students to pursue careers
in the life sciences. In recognition of the shift towards
a multiracial, multiethnic society, TSRI encourages students
and teachers from gender and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented
in the sciences to attend its programs.
John Diekman, who is managing director of Bay City Capital,
a life sciences investment firm, notes that the gift reflects
his high esteem for TSRIwhich he calls "one of the best
centers for biology and chemistry in the world"as well
as his appreciation for the pivotal role that teachers can
play in young people's lives.
"When I was in high school, I wasn't sure what I wanted
to do," he recalls. "An inspiring teacher convinced me to
pursue chemistry." John Diekman went on to earn an A.B. in
chemistry from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in chemistry
from Stanford Universitya prelude to a highly successful
career in the biotech industry.
Susan Diekman, who is former executive director of the Airtouch
Communications Foundation, adds that TSRI's Science Outreach
Program and Goldsmith's enthusiastic leadership of it were
important factors in their decision to endow the fellowship.
"TSRI is an incredible resource for the community. This program
links the TSRI scientists with the scientists of the future
through their teachers. I hope our gift will inspire others
to help insure that the Science Outreach Program endures."
The first Diekman fellow, who will be arriving at TSRI on
June 25, is Erik Janeke, a teacher at Mt. Miguel High School
in Spring Valley. Janeke hopes the internship will help him
find ways to bring more laboratory-based curriculum into his
classroom, especially in the areas of cell biology, chemistry,
and molecular biology.
Janeke also hopes the internship will help him further develop
his skills as a laboratory biologist, building on his experience
performing nutrient assays and other tests as a master's student
in ecology at San Diego State University and his experience
collecting data at the San Diego Zoo.
"I am grateful for this tremendous opportunity to do what
I love to do and to expand the real-life science that I can
bring back to my students," Janeke says. "I can hardly wait
to get started."