Skype call to Texas helps ‘put Brock on the map’

Students from Handley Elementary School in Texas skype with Brock scientist Anna Sanchez.

Students from Handley Elementary School in Texas skype with Brock scientist Ana Sanchez.

Brock University scientist Ana Sanchez got that long-distance feeling this week when she used Skype to impress the wonders of science on a group of Grade 5 students in Texas.

The microbiologist spent some time Thursday morning chatting with more than 100 pupils at Handley Elementary School in the Dallas suburb of Garland. The assembled students could see and talk with Sanchez as her image was projected on a screen at the front of their room.

The event was organized by Sanchez’s niece, a teacher at the school, where students are preparing for an exam that includes questions on scientific method and biosafety in the laboratory.

“So she thought about me, and having the kids see a real scientist to bring to life those concepts,” said Sanchez. “I said yes, she proposed it to the principal, and all of a sudden the whole school got involved.”

The opportunity was well received at Handley Elementary.

“Mrs. Nuñez organized a video conference with Dr. Ana Sanchez, a microbiologist at Brock University in Canada,” wrote one teacher in an email. “Dr. Sanchez chatted with the students about her research with infectious diseases and how she uses the scientific method every day.

“The students were hooked, engaged, and asked great questions. The students will definitely remember this.”

Sanchez, an associate professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, has an international reputation for her expertise on infectious diseases.

“It was a great experience for me,” said Sanchez. “I get energized by these kinds of things. And it was nice to put Brock on the map for them as well.”

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